Melbourne, Dec 30: Australian captain Ricky Ponting has been ruled out of the fifth Test of the Ashes series against England because of further damage to his broken finger.
Ponting had fractured the little finger in his left hand while attempting to claim an edge at slip off Jonathan Trott on day three of the third-Test at Perth's WACA Ground.
Cricket Australia (CA) said that further X-rays on the broken finger showed that the fracture had moved during the fourth Test loss at the Melbourne Cricket Ground.
"As such, he needs to commence treatment immediately to achieve a satisfactory outcome," the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Australia's team physiotherapist Alex Kountouris, as saying in the CA statement.
"The treatment options include surgery or aggressive splinting and immobilisation of the injured finger. A decision on the treatment option will be made in the next 24 hours after further consultation with the hand specialist."
"His return to cricket will be based on how quickly the fracture heals and he will hopefully commence training in the later part of the Australian summer," the statement added.
The 36-year-old is expected to be fit for the 50-over World Cup in the Indian subcontinent starting February.
Vice-captain Michael Clarke will lead Australia during Ponting's absence, while New South Wales (NSW) batsman Usman Khawaja is expected to make his Test debut as his replacement.
Australia currently trails the five-match series 2-1, with the final Test to be played in Sydney from January 2. (ANI)