x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 17 January 2018

Ricky Ponting upbeat on Brett Lee's fitness for Sri Lanka clash

The Australian stand-in captain backing the fast bowler to recover from toe injury for one-day game in Sydney.

Ricky Ponting will lead Australia against Sri Lanka in Sydney in the absence of Michael Clarke.
Ricky Ponting will lead Australia against Sri Lanka in Sydney in the absence of Michael Clarke.

Ricky Ponting, the stand-in Australian captain, says he is optimistic paceman Brett Lee will recover from a broken toe to take his place in the one-day side to face Sri Lanka tomorrow.

Lee was ruled out of action for up to six weeks after fracturing the little toe of his right foot when he was struck by a ball against India in a Twenty20 clash earlier this month.

But his recovery is ahead of schedule and Ponting said he will only settle on his starting XI ahead of the toss at the Sydney Cricket Ground to give Lee as much time as possible.

"He had a run yesterday and his toe pulled up particularly well," Ponting said of Lee.

"He's got a lot of bowling to get through today and we'll see how he pulls up tomorrow morning so we won't be able to finalise our team until the toss tomorrow. Fingers crossed for Brett that he comes up well."

Ponting, who will lead the team against Sri Lanka with Michael Clarke ruled out due to a hamstring injury, said he had no aspirations to be skipper beyond this one match.

"I want to make it very clear this is Michael Clarke's team, that I'm just stepping up to look after for a couple of days," he explained.

"Everyone knows my appointment's been made for hopefully only Friday.

"Hopefully Michael comes up for Sunday's game, so really this is just about taking over Michael's team and leading the team well and hopefully getting the result the team's after."

Ponting stepped down as Australia captain last year after the one-day World Cup and former Test skipper Steve Waugh has said he cannot understand why selectors chose him as stand-in for Clarke ahead of opening batsman David Warner, who is Clarke's vice-captain.