Under-fire Ponting has to wait for atonement

Ricky Ponting is to have surgery on the fractured finger he suffered during the third Ashes Test in Perth.

Ponting suffered the injury when he parried a catch from second slip to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin to dismiss England's Jonathan Trott late on day three at the WACA.

Australia won that Test to square the series at 1-1 and Ponting then played in the Boxing Day Test at Melbourne which England won easily to take a 2-1 lead and retain the Ashes.

Ponting then withdrew from the final Test because of the injury and Cricket Australia yesterday confirmed he was to undergo surgery on the little finger on his left hand.

Cricket Australia physiotherapist Alex Kountouris said: "Ricky had further x-rays (yesterday) on his fractured finger which have shown that the bone fragment has further displaced and will not heal without surgery. As such Ricky will have surgery (today).

"He is expected to miss the Commonwealth Bank one-day international series against England and recover in time for the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup on the sub-continent."

Ponting had hoped to play in the final Test in Sydney, which started yesterday, but after an x-ray was ruled out.

His place was taken by Usman Khawaja who scored 37 on debut before he was last man out at the SCG as Australia closed on 134-4 on a rain-hit day.

With Michael Clarke taking over the captaincy in his absence the future looks uncertain for Ponting.

He has had a difficult series and faces the prospect of being the only Australia captain to oversee three Ashes series defeats by England.

An often controversial figure, he was fined 40 per cent of his match fee after being found guilty of breaching the International Cricket Council's code of conduct in relation to his row with umpire Aleem Dar during the fourth Test.

Ponting was involved in a lengthy confrontation with Dar after an appeal for caught behind against Kevin Pietersen was rejected, first by Dar and then by the TV umpire following a referral.

The available technology suggested the decision was correct but Ponting jabbed his finger in Dar's direction in a heated discussion before moving on to continue the debate with square-leg umpire Tony Hill.

The ICC could have banned Ponting from the Sydney Test had they found him guilty of a Level Two breach of their code, but instead docked him 40 per cent of his match fee after deeming him guilty of a Level One charge of dissent.

Ponting later apologised over the incident.