x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Symonds back in XI for Gabba Test

The all-rounder Andrew Symonds is back in the Australia side for the opening Test against New Zealand at the Gabba.

Andrew Symonds will be back fresh and raring to go.
Andrew Symonds will be back fresh and raring to go.

BRISBANE // The all-rounder Andrew Symonds is back in the Australia side for the opening Test against New Zealand at the Gabba which starts today. The captain Ricky Ponting made the announcement yesterday, leaving the spinner Jason Krejza and all-rounder Shane Watson locked in a battle for the final spot in the starting XI for today's match. Ponting and the chairman of selectors Andrew Hilditch are yet to make a decision on who will carry the drinks, suggesting the weather and final condition of the pitch will impact the verdict.

"We'll wait and see what happens this afternoon and tonight, I believe there's a fair bit more rain around which is forecast this afternoon, so we'll wait until tomorrow morning before we finalise what the starting XI will be," Ponting said. He admitted that whoever is left on the sidelines has a right to feel aggrieved after their fine efforts in the tour of India. "Absolutely, it'll be desperately unlucky for whoever misses out there, Krazy has taken 12 wickets in the last Test match he played and at different times during the Indian series Watson was probably our best bowler," he added.

Ponting said Symonds's ability as a player meant that he demanded selection after spending months away from the national side following his dismissal from the Top End ODI series for disciplinary reasons. "A tough decision had to be made there, obviously with Symmo, when he was deemed to be fit and ready to go, I thought it was important we got him back," Ponting said. "Being a senior member of our team and being someone who was a successful member of our team before he went out of it, it almost becomes like an injury-type replacement."

After days on end of inclement weather, sunshine was finally out in force in Brisbane yesterday and the covers were able to come off, revealing an expectedly green Gabba wicket. Ponting believed the pitch would play well, provided the showers stayed away. "It's encouraging to see a lot of sun out there," he said. Australia will go into the match as favourites and Ponting anticipated his side would bounce back after a 2-0 Test series loss to India.

"Whether that's 2-0 or 1-0, I'd expect us to win," he said. * PA Sport