Melbourne:Feeling "better" after Friday's practice session, Ricky Ponting is confident of leading Australia in the Boxing Day Test against Pakistan.
Ponting batted without guard on the injured elbow, facing teammates Peter Siddle and Doug Bollinger with the new ball."I went well today actually, I went better today. 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," Ponting said.
However, New South Wales' Phillip Hughes will stay with the team as standby until the match starts tomorrow.
Ponting had suffered the elbow injury in the third Test against the West Indies in Perth, when he was struck by a delivery from Kemar Roach, which caused tendon damage.
Ponting said Nathan Hauritz was also recovering fast from his groin problem and chances are that the off-spinner may also play.
"With Nathan it's the same as me, he's a whole lot better today at training than he was yesterday. He feels a lot better within himself than he did yesterday and had a good, solid bowl and had a lot more work on the ball, so that's a good sign," Ponting was quoted as saying by the 'Herald Sun'.
New South Wales leg-spinner Steven Smith will make his debut if Hauritz is ruled out.