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Injured Australian opener Simon Katich has revealed he is set to make a shock return in time for the fifth Ashes Test, increasing the pressure on Phillip Hughes to find form in the Boxing Day shoot-out in Melbourne.
Katich damaged his achilles tendon during the second Test loss in Adelaide and was initially expected to miss the rest of the summer.
But the veteran left-hander told Sportal on Tuesday that his comeback plans are ahead of schedule and he may be right for the Sydney Test, starting January 3.
Full story: Cricket Australia
Ricky Ponting is expected to recover from his broken finger in time to lead Australia at the MCG on Boxing Day, but the selectors have included New South Wales batsman Usman Khawaja in the squad as a precautionary measure. Khawaja, who just turned 24, is uncapped and will join the team in Melbourne on Wednesday.
“While the NSP (national selection panel) are confident Ricky Ponting will be available for the Boxing Day Test, through an abundance of caution we have named Usman Khawaja as the standby player,” Andrew Hilditch, the chairman of the panel, said. “Usman richly deserves this opportunity following his excellent form at domestic level last season and continuing on this season.”
Full story: ESPNcricinfo
Despite denials that a decision has been taken to help the home side, it is likely to diminish the impact of Graeme Swann, England's most potent threat.
The pitch for the fourth Test in Melbourne has been switched, less than a fortnight before the match that could determine who wins the Ashes.
Australia took less than an hour in Perth yesterday to complete victory by 267 runs as they reinforced England’s frailties on a surface with pace and bounce. With the series level at 1-1, England need only a win in either Melbourne or Sydney, but Australia have drawn fresh confidence before the traditional Boxing Day fixture.
Changing pitches so close to a match is rare, but Channel 9 and Sky Sports have been told to move the position of their cameras, which must be directly behind the bowler to allow technology to operate accurately.
Full story: The Australian
Ponting's fracture potentially opens the door for Michael Clarke's Test captaincy debut. Image via Wikipedia
Michael Clarke has received the backing of Australia’s selectors to captain the Test team should Ricky Ponting fail to overcome his finger injury by Boxing Day, although the incumbent skipper says he played with a worse injury in last year’s corresponding match against Pakistan.
Ponting has a minor fracture in the little finger of his left hand but is confident of playing in Melbourne and selectors have not named a standby player for him in their unchanged squad of 12 from Perth.
Full story: Sydney Morning Herald
Australia needed only 50 minutes on the fourth day to take England’s last five wickets and wrap up a 267-run win in the third Ashes Test at the Waca.
The emphatic victory levels the five-match series at 1-1, with the contest moving to Melbourne on Boxing Day.
Ryan Harris finished with a Test-best 6-47 as England were all out for 123.
The tourists resumed at 81-5, seeking an unlikely 391 to win in Perth, but Harris took four of the last five wickets and England folded meekly.
Full story: BBC Sport