Michael Clarke set to debut as a captain in the absence of Ricky Ponting
One of the fiercest encounters in test match history, the Ashes is leveled at 1-1 with two matches still to be played. The vital fourth test match of the series starts on the Boxing Day at the Melbourne Cricket Ground. Australia thrashed England with
a thumping win and a margin of 267 runs. Ricky Ponting could not contribute a lot with the bat, however, he marshaled his troops pretty well and Australia managed to win a crucial clash. The match will be remembered for Mitchell Johnson's all around performance
on a decisive comeback when his career was in doubt.
During England’s second innings, Ricky Ponting got injured while fielding in the slips. On the third day of the third test match, Jonathan Trott edged one off Johnson’s bowling and in attempt to catch the ball in the slips, Ponting got his finger fractured.
He spilled the catch and the ball popped up where Brad Haddin was vigilant enough to grab it. The x-rays show that Ponting’s little finger of the left hand is fractured and he is doubtful to play the next test match of this Ashes series.
Being in the twilight of his career, Ponting said, "I am not going to be silly and put myself ahead of the team, especially in such an important game. If I don't think I can function well, then I won't play. But if I feel that I can function and play
somewhere near - then I'll play the game.” For Ponting and the Australian camp it is a “wait and see” scenario. If Ponting is not available for the next test match, Michael Clarke will be leading the Australian side in the all important clash between the two
cricketing rivals. Clarke has captained Australia in the absence of Ponting in the ODI's before, however, it will be his first experience to lead the side in test matches.
Some might believe that the absence of Ponting will be a blessing in disguise as he hasn't been able to find any sort of form with the bat. Michael Clarke’s performances in recent times have been somewhat inconsistent however, Clarke is seen as a player
who can handle the pressure well and has natural ability to lead. This will be a great opportunity for Clarke to lead from the front and prove that he can be the natural successor to Ponting in the future.