Australia could be without Ricky Ponting for the first Test against South Africa after the former skipper was forced to pull out of a Sheffield Shield match for Tasmania with hamstring soreness.
The 37-year-old was dismissed for five on the first day of the match against South Australia at Bellerive Oval and consulted Australian team management after feeling tightness in his hamstring.
Cricket Australia released a statement saying Ponting would be rested to give him every chance to be fit for the opening Test against the Proteas which starts in Brisbane next Friday. "This is a precautionary move to ensure Ricky has the best possible preparation for the first Test against South Africa in Brisbane next week," team manager Pat Howard said.
"We've opted to withdraw Ricky from the game. If this wasn't a week out from the first Test then Ricky would continue with the match, but we don't want to take that risk. We expect Ricky to be fit for the first Vodafone Test against South Africa."
Ponting's dismissal on Thursday ended a brief purple patch for the champion batsman, who compiled unbeaten knocks of 162 and 60 against Victoria last week.
He is determined to prove he is far from a spent force and push on to play in back-to-back Ashes series against England in the second half of 2013.
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