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Aussies win the toss and elect to bat

Australian captain Ricky Ponting won the toss and chose to bat against the West Indies in the third match of the Twenty20 World Cup at the Kennington Oval in London on Saturday.

Andrew Symonds's absence robs Australia of one of the world's leading Twenty20 players. A hard hitting batsman, brilliant fielder and a bowler capable of both medium pace and spin, Symonds ought to be a captain's dream in this format.

Much now will depend on Ponting to get the side back on track.

The Tasmanian remains one of the world's best batsmen in all forms of the game and Ponting looked in superb touch while making 56 during a warm-up win over New Zealand this week.

In the short term Australia, who have called up Cameron White to the squad as a replacement, could promote either one of Michael or David Hussey up the order with David Hussey's off-spin a useful bowling option in the Twenty20.

Given their off-field problems, Australia could have had a worse opener than a match against the West Indies, who have been beaten comprehensively by England in Tests, One-dayers and most recently a Twenty20 warm-up this season.

West Indies captain Chris Gayle though did hammer 88 in a nine-wicket warm-up win over minnows Ireland this week and, in a format which more than any other type of cricket can see games won by one player alone, the left-handed opener remains a significant force.

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