Ponting To Miss Final Ashes Test, Khawaja To Debut

Ponting To Miss Final Ashes Test, Khawaja To Debut
Ponting To Miss Final Ashes Test, Khawaja To Debut
©REUTERS/Mick Tsikas (AUSTRALIA - Tags: SPORT CRICKET) Picture Supplied by Action Images

Australian captain Ricky Ponting will end a run of 73 straight Tests for his country after he was ruled out of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney due to injury.

He played the fourth Test in Melbourne with a fractured finger but an x-ray after the match showed it had worsened and he has been left out of Australia's 12-man squad for the match, which begins on 2nd January.

In his absence, Michael Clarke will captain the Test side for the first time, Brad Haddin has been named as his deputy and batsman Usman Khawaja will make his debut in the match.

With Ryan Harris also missing the match following his ankle fracture, left-arm quick Doug Bollinger returns to the squad having been dropped earlier in the series.

Australia go into the match 2-1 down - and therefore unable to regain the Ashes - following an innings defeat at the M.C.G but with hopes of at best levelling the series.

"Obviously we are very disappointed to have failed to win back the Ashes but we look forward to trying to level the series in Sydney," National Selection Panel (NSP) Chairman Andrew Hilditch said.

"With Ricky being unavailable for this match we are sure that both Michael and Brad will lead this Australian side with great progessionalism and the full support of the team as we strive for a victory in Sydney.

"Usman Khawaja will make his debut for Australia in this match, something we are excited about given his tremendous form at domestic level over the past two seasons.

"The unfortunate injury to Ryan Harris during the fourth Test has provided the opportunity for Doug Bollinger to return to the squad."

Ponting is expected to be fit in time for the 2011 World Cup, which gets underway in February.

Australia squad for the 5th Ashes Test: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice-captain), Doug Bollinger, Michael Beer, Ben Hilfenhaus, Phillip Hughes, Michael Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Usman Khawaja, Shane Watson

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