Ponting, Hayden on way back to OZ squad

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Melbourne, Sep 10 (UNI) World Champion Australia's battle plans to retain the Border-Gavaskar Trophy in India next month have been buoyed by positive injury reports on skipper Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden.

Ponting had his surgically-repaired wrist inspected by team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris in Sydney yesterday, while Hayden continued to make good progress from an achilles tendon problem.

Both missed Australia's 3-0 mauling of Bangladesh in Darwin but will be India-bound when the squad leaves on September 21.

Australian coach Tim Nielsen was thrilled with the progress of he two key batsmen.

''Everything's been progressing exactly as we liked with Haydos,'' he said yesterday.

Nielsen said the focus had been on getting Hayden fully fit before having him work on his touch in the nets.

The veteran opener has not played a Test or one-day international since last summer because of injury.

Ponting has begun to hit balls in the past fortnight but admits he needs to step up his training regime ahead of the four-Test series, beginning in Bangalore on October 9.

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