Ponting very confident of playing Boxing Day Test

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Melbourne, Dec. 25 (ANI): Australian captain Ricky Ponting has said that he is quite confident about playing against Pakistan in the first Test at the MCG, starting tomorrow.

"I went well today actually, I went better today than yesterday. I had a bit of pain in the nets yesterday. I was always going to bat two days into the game. I'm really confident that I can play the game," the Daily Telegraph quoted Ponting, as saying.

New South Wale's Phillip Hughes will stay with the team as standby until the match starts on Boxing Day.

Off spinner Nathan Hauritz also benefited from today's session, as Ponting said the signs were good he was recovering well from a groin problem and would play.

New South Wale's leg spinner Steven Smith, 20, will make his debut if Hauritz is ruled out, and Australia will assess the incumbent spinner the morning before the match starts.

"With Nathan it's the same as me, he's a whole lot better today at training than he was yesterday," Ponting said.

Pace bowler Peter Siddle has overcome hamstring soreness and will replace Victorian team mate Clint McKay.

Pakistan captain Mohammad Yousuf said the tourists were yet to finalise their side, but he was happy with the side used in the recent drawn series in New Zealand.

Australia (from): Ricky Ponting (capt), Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Michael Clarke, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Nathan Hauritz, Peter Siddle, Doug Bollinger, Steven Smith, Phillip Hughes, Clint McKay.

Pakistan (possible): Mohammad Yousuf (capt), Salman Butt, Imran Farhat, Faisal Iqbal, Umar Akmal, Misbah-ul-Haq, Kamran Akmal, Mohammad Aamer, Umar Gul, Mohammad Asif, Danish Kaneria, Saeed Ajmal (12th man). (ANI)

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