Ponting ruled out of fifth Test

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Ricky Ponting

Ricky Ponting's broken finger has ruled him out of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney where Michael Clarke will act as captain

Australia captain Ricky Ponting will miss the Ashes finale in Sydney next week due to the broken left little finger that almost kept him out of this week’s fourth Test.

Michael Clarke, Ponting’s vice-captain, will lead the hosts at the SCG with Brad Haddin his deputy.

Pakistan-born batsman Usman Khawaja, who was on standby for Ponting in Melbourne, will make his Test debut.

Doug Bollinger was also named in an otherwise unchanged 12-man squad in place of Ryan Harris, who has been ruled out for three to four months with a stress fracture of the left ankle.

The latest x-rays on Ponting’s injured finger have shown he may require surgery and, as such, Clarke has also been made skipper for the Commonwealth Bank Series, which follows the Ashes. Cameron White will be his vice-captain for the limited-overs rubber.

Cricket Australia chief executive officer James Sutherland said: "Given the injury to Ricky Ponting the national selection panel made a recommendation to the Cricket Australia board this afternoon that Michael Clarke assume captaincy of the Australian Cricket team for the fifth and final Vodafone Ashes Test match in Sydney and for the Commonwealth Bank one-day series. This recommendation was unanimously endorsed by directors.

Usman Khawaja

Usman Khawaja, who was on standby for the first and fourth Tests, will make his Australia debut in the Sydney finale

"Brad Haddin has been appointed as vice-captain for this remaining Test match while Cameron White will deputise for Michael in both the one-day and Twenty20 form of the game.

"We congratulate Michael on his appointment and wish him well for the next few weeks."

Although CA did not reveal when Ponting may return, NSP chairman Andrew Hilditch expects it to be in time for the World Cup, which starts in February.

“We look forward to Ricky completing his recovery and leading this team to a fourth successive ICC Cricket World Cup on the sub-continent at the completion of the Australian summer,” he said.

“Usman Khawaja will make his debut for Australia in this match, something we are excited about given his tremendous form at domestic level over the past two seasons.

“The unfortunate injury to Ryan Harris during the fourth Test has provided the opportunity for Doug Bollinger to return to the Australian squad.”

Australia squad for fifth Test: Michael Clarke (captain), Brad Haddin (vice-captain, wicketkeeper), Doug Bollinger, Michael Beer, Phillip Hughes, Ben Hilfenhaus, Mike Hussey, Mitchell Johnson, Usman Khawaja, Peter Siddle, Steven Smith, Shane Watson.

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