Australian all-rounder Symonds doubtful for Melbourne Test

December 24th, 2008 - 7:13 pm ICT by IANS  

Melbourne, Dec 24 (IANS) Australian all-rounder Andrew Symonds’ knee injury has made him a doubtful starter for the Boxing Day Test against South Africa starting Friday at the Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG).Symonds could bowl only two overs of medium pace in the Perth Test against South Africa before his knee injury prevented him from bowling again in the match.

Trailing 1-0 after the heavy defeat in Perth, Australia face the prospect of making three changes for the second Test if Symonds fails to prove his fitness.

Symonds has consulted a knee specialist here and is receiving constant treatment from team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris.

Captain Ricky Ponting was unsure on Symonds’ availability.

“It’s really a day-to-day thing with him at the moment. He went into the game (first Test) OK and bowled in the first innings but couldn’t really bowl after his second over. He got through his second over and that was it,” Ponting was quoted as saying by The Australian.

“He got better on days three and four and limped about on day five. It’s one of those things that comes and goes a little bit.”

Fellow all-rounder Shane Watson would play if Symonds’ condition does not improve, while fast bowler Ben Hilfenhaus is putting pressure on Peter Siddle and off-spinner Jason Krejza has already been dropped to make way for Nathan Hauritz.

Watson’s inclusion for Symonds would strengthen Australia’s bowling at a time when it needs a steady bowler after pace spearhead Brett Lee’s performance in the first Test.

“We’ll just have to see how he (Symonds) is on the morning of the game. If we bowl first, I’ll just have to put it on him and see if he can bowl his medium pacers or not,” said Ponting.

Asked if Symonds would play, Ponting replied: “I don’t know. He wasn’t hindered at all with his batting in the second innings and that was when it was at its worst. He can definitely bat for us and run between the wickets. He hobbled about a bit on the last day but nothing that was too alarming.”

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