Aussies sweating on McGrath fitness

Last updated at 08:40 30 August 2005

Glenn McGrath's fitness will be Australia's primary concern in the build-up to their must-win Ashes finale with captain Ricky Ponting apparently loath to making changes.

Fast bowler McGrath is struggling with an injury to his right elbow and has 10 days to recover sufficiently to lead the attack in the Australians' quest to retain the urn.

"We've got to look at how Glenn's going to come up," Ponting said. "I am not really sure how he is right now or if he's going to be fit."

The 35-year-old has missed two of the four matches to date and England have won both in tense finishes, the latter by three wickets at Trent Bridge.

Australia's under-par performances, particularly in the batting department, have given weight for reinforcements from outside the touring party to be called in with Durham captain Michael Hussey, Hampshire's Shane Watson and Andrew Symonds, of Lancashire, all in form and offering varying qualities.

However, Ponting appears reluctant for the axe to fall despite the continued failure of both Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn, who have one half-century between them in 16 innings.

"The thing about our batsmen right now is that there isn't anyone going through a lean trot, guys are getting to 20s, 30s and 40s and getting out which is fairly unusual for our players," Ponting added. "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.

"We are yet to talk about selection but I would be very surprised if we made a change."

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