Australia may have defied the odds to pull off a series-levelling victory at Perth, but the team stands to lose its captain for the rest of the Ashes. An x-ray revealed that Ricky Ponting has in fact broken a finger.
Team physio, Alex Kountouris, said that X-rays had "confirmed a small fracture of his left little finger. A decision on whether he will field today will be made during the team warm up this morning at the WACA."
Ponting was dispatched to hospital after deflecting an edge of English batsman Jonathan Trott to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, towards the close of play on Day 3 of the third Ashes Test at Perth. He met with the team in a huddle after the day's play, but then immediately left the field. His team-mate Peter Siddle, said Ponting "seemed alright", but the extent of the injury was not known until a Cricket Australia statement prior to play commencing on Day 4.
The WACA has proved an ground rife with misfortune for Ponting. He was compelled to retire hurt last year after being hit in the elbow by West Indies' express bowler Kemar Roach. His poor showing with the bat continued into this Test with scores of 12 and 1, taking his series' aggregate to 83 from six innings.
Vice captain Michael Clarke, will step in if Ponting can't recover for the Boxing Day Test, although it is suspected Ponting will play through the pain.
A similar injury kept Ponting out of a Test in 2004-05 when Australia were touring India. Adam Gilchrist was handed the mantle of captain for the series, handed over to Ponting for the last of the three Tests which was held in Mumbai.