Rain delays start of Brisbane ODI, Clarke yet to prove fitness

February 13th, 2009 - 12:52 pm ICT by ANI  

Brisbane, Feb.13 (ANI): Rain has delayed the start of the final one-day match between Australia and New Zealand, giving a little more time to Australian vice-captain Michael Clarke to go through with a fitness Test.
The covers haven”t been moved off the cricket pitch at the Gabba, increasing the chances of the final match of the series being abandoned and allowing Australia to retain the Chappell-Hadlee Trophy.
According to the cricinfo web site, play must start before 6 p.m. to have enough time to deliver 25 overs per side, but more wet weather is on the way.
The contest is locked at 2-2.
The Gabba has excellent drainage facilities; but there is a need for the weather to clear for the field to dry up.
Australia (probable) 1 Michael Clarke, 2 Brad Haddin (wk), 3 Ricky Ponting (capt), 4 David Hussey, 5 Michael Hussey, 6 Callum Ferguson, 7 Cameron White, 8 James Hopes, 9 Mitchell Johnson, 10 Nathan Bracken, 11 Ben Hilfenhaus.
New Zealand (probable) 1 Brendon McCullum (wk), 2 Martin Guptill, 3 Peter Fulton, 4 Ross Taylor, 5 Grant Elliott, 6 Neil Broom, 7 Kyle Mills, 8 Daniel Vettori (capt), 9 Tim Southee, 10 Jeetan Patel, 11 Iain O”Brien.
Australia is desperate to give injured Clarke until the final minutes to prove his fitness. Clarke, though, has had a recurrence of a chronic back problem and is battling to be fit for the match.
“He is still a bit sore. We”ll have to wait before we make the final decision on him. We”ve got a few options … but we won”t give that away right at the moment. Michael is a very important part of our side. He is our vice-captain and he’’s done a very good job in the last couple of games opening the batting. So we”ll give him every opportunity to get up for tomorrow’’s (Friday’’s) game. He’’s improved a bit so hopefully he wakes up tomorrow feeling good,” Fox Sports quoted skipper Ponting, as saying.
Trounced 4-1 in the one-day series against South Africa, Ricky Ponting’’s side was staring down the barrel of a humiliating series defeat to a depleted New Zealand after losing the first two matches of the trans-Tasman series. However, on the back of some outstanding batting from the new opening partnership of Brad Haddin and Clarke, Australia clawed its way back to level the series.
The game will be a milestone for Ponting, who will equal Allan Border’’s Australian record of 178 matches in charge of the one-day team.
Ponting has led the side to 131 victories and has a winning percentage of 78.10, compared to Border’’s 61.42 and Steve Waugh’’s 65.23 in 106 contests. (ANI)

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