Decisions for Australia ahead of fifth Test in Sydney
Australia are pondering numerous changes if they are to end a horrid Ashes series on a high in the fifth Test in Sydney, with one being captain Ricky Ponting moving to bat further down the order.
Betting odds of 2/1 are available on Australia winning the final Test and the hosts will be forced into making one change from the side that was destroyed in Melbourne as Ryan Harris is ruled out with injury.
Harris is expected to be sidelined for three months after undergoing surgery on an ankle injury he sustained in Melbourne.
However, with Australia likely to pick a specialist spinner at Sydney in any case, Harris’ injury should make the selectors’ decision a bit easier.
One decision that may not prove so straight-forward is whether Ponting should continue to bat at number three.
The Australian captain has endured a hideous series with the bat, averaging just 16 and hitting a top score of just 51 in eight innings.
Former Australia captain Allan Border believes that Ponting would benefit from moving down to number five in the order, which is something that the likes of Viv Richards and Sachin Tendulkar have previously done with success.
The only problem with such a move would be who would replace Ponting at three, with Mike Hussey of a similar age and Michael Clarke another batsman who is out of form at present.
Rookie Usman Khawaja would be a bold choice in the role, while there is the option of continuing with Phil Hughes as opener and bringing back Simon Katich at three.
Katich is fighting to be fit for the fifth Test after tearing an Achilles tendon during the previous match in Adelaide.
There will be a number of betting opportunities available through Ladbrokes for the fifth Test. New Ladbrokes customers can sign up here for a free £10 bet.