Ponting the cynosure

Ponting, who played through a broken finger during the Ashes series, hasn’t played a competitive game of cricket since the Boxing Day Test against England in Melbourne, and is desperately in need of net-time and then game-time as he seeks to spearhead his team’s attempt for a fourth consecutive crown.

The skipper stood up to the pace test of Brett Lee, Shaun Tait, Doug Bollinger, Mitchell Johnson and John Hastings with aplomb, not once feeling his healing finger or wincing in pain, even if not every ball sped off the middle of his willow.

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