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Ponting keen to face Steyn

Ricky Ponting hasn't broken into a run since tweaking his hamstring, but the champion batsman has declared he will be ready, at the Gabba on Friday, to show Dale Steyn he has banished the technical gremlins that threatened to end his career a year ago.

Ponting was limited to throw-downs and slips catches at Monday's training session.

But the 37-year-old said he was on track to play in the first Test, in which he will be reacquainted with Steyn and Vernon Philander, who conspired to dismiss him lbw in three out of four innings in South Africa last year.

Steyn rated his ball to conquer Ponting for a duck in the first innings in Johannesburg as the most satisfying wicket of his career, but for the former Australian captain it was one of the lowest moments.

''It was technical. You don't go from playing the way I was playing to being hit on the pad as often as I was without something being wrong,'' Ponting recalled on Friday. ''The frustrating thing for me through that period was I identified it really early in the series, and was working hard on trying to rectify it and still getting out the same way. I'm doing things a bit different at training and some of the things I'm working on have made me feel a lot better balanced at the crease. I'm certainly not getting hit on the pad as much as I was 12 months ago.''

Famously, Ponting resurrected his Test career with 544 runs at 108 against India at home.


Now it's his body, not the selectors, he has to worry about.

Ponting hurt his hamstring when he slipped while turning for a run at Bellerive Oval, which has just been resurfaced, last Friday. He was withdrawn from Tasmania's Sheffield Shield game against South Australia as a precaution.

''I was running on the edge of the wicket and the grass is really lush, I was just about to turn in and over-strided and slipped,'' Ponting said.

''When I pushed off to get back to the other end as quick as I could, I felt a little tweak in my hammy and it started to ache and every time I lifted my foot off the ground I could feel a twinge in the lower part of my hamstring.

''The scan was pretty good and it's been pretty positive since. I did everything that was required today and I've been pretty confident about it the last three days.''

He dismissed the suggestion that a hamstring twinge could be a warning sign for a batsman of his age, and blamed Tasmania's packed early-season schedule and the new, soft Bellerive surface for the injury.

''The last four months my body has been absolutely perfect, I have not had a niggle,'' Ponting said.