Ponting says Australia line-up still undecided

Published: Thursday, March 16, 2006, 23:53 [IST]
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Captain Ricky Ponting said Australia's selection quandary remained unresolved on the eve of the first Test against South Africa in Cape Town today.

Australia's main selection issue is whether to pick Shane Warne as their only specialist slow bowler or to add fellow leg spinner Stuart MacGill to the mix.

Bare patches near both ends of the Newlands pitch being prepared for the match might assist spin bowlers as the game wears on.

''We've got a lot of thinking to do about which make-up we go in with,'' Ponting told a news conference today.

''The wicket will have a little bit to do with that but at the end of the day we've just got to go in with the four bowlers who are most likely to take 20 wickets for us in the Test.

''If we play two spinners it probably gives Andrew Symonds more chance of playing as an all rounder.

''If we play three fast bowlers and one spinner then that number six batting spot is up for grabs.'' Warne, Test cricket's most successful bowler with 659 wickets, did not play in the one-day series that South Africa won 3-2 on Sunday, because he has retired from limited overs cricket.

Ponting said Warne's return would boost the visitors, who beat South Africa 2-0 in the recent Test series at home.

''It's nice to have him in any game that you play. It doesn't matter what the wicket looks like because he's a class performer in all sorts of conditions,'' Ponting said.

''He has a great record against South Africa and he looks forward to playing against South Africa.

South Africa won by one wicket with a ball to spare in the final one-day game on Sunday after chasing down Australia's short-lived world record total of 434 for four.

''There are good things to take from the game, the fact that we managed to post that total meant we batted well,'' Ponting said.

''But we've moved on from the one-dayers, and we have to make sure we're ready to take on a very good South African team in a Test match.

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