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Last Updated: Monday, 29 August 2005, 10:18 GMT 11:18 UK
Aussies unlikely to make changes
Ponting (right) is happy to keep faith with Hayden
Ricky Ponting insists Australia will not be panicked into any knee-jerk selection decisions, despite trailing the Ashes 2-1 with one Test to play.

"I'd be very surprised if we made a change," said skipper Ponting.

"None of our batsmen are in a lean trot. Guys are making 20s, 30s and 40s and getting out which is unusual."

Australia were without Glenn McGrath for the Trent Bridge loss, and Ponting admitted doubts remained over the paceman's fitness for the final Test.

The 35-year-old has missed the second Test with a freak ankle ligament injury and the fourth Test with an elbow injury - both matches England won.

"We've got to look at how Glenn's going to come up," said Ponting.

"I am not really sure how he is right now or if he's going to be fit."

Batsmen Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn have come in for particular criticism after falling short of their usual high standards on the Ashes tour.

Hayden has been one of the most dependable members of Australia's batting line-up in his 71-Test career, with a Test average of 51.31 and 20 centuries to his name.

But the 33-year-old opener has struggled against England's attack, and a series average of 22.5 and a highest score of 36 tell their own story.

Martyn has also suffered in England and Test scores of 2, 65, 20, 28, 20, 19, 1 and 13 have left him with a series average of 21.

"To win Test matches you have to make hundreds - that is what Test cricket is all about - and we are not doing that right now," added Ponting.

We have to turn it around quickly if we want to hang onto these Ashes
Australia captain Ricky Ponting

Australia, who have the uncapped Brad Hodge in their squad, have only managed one century - Ponting's brilliant 156 at Old Trafford - between them over the first four Tests.

Ponting's side find themselves in the unusual situation of having to win the final Test to draw the series and retain the Ashes.

"We haven't been in a series before where we have to go into a final match needing to win to draw the series - but that might not be a bad thing for us right now," said Ponting.

"We can go out and play instinctive cricket with the pressure off.

"If you want to win Test matches you have to be at your best over four or five days.

"England have played well since the last ball of that first Test match and we haven't. The first two days of the game is what cost us the Test match once again.

"We fought really hard to get back but when you are that far behind you have to play exceptionally to win.

"We have to turn it around quickly if we want to hang onto these Ashes, simple as that."

The final Test at The Oval gets under way on 8 September, before which Australia have a two-day game against Essex on the weekend.


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