Ponting tells Jaques to relax
Ricky Ponting says Phil Jaques will not be under significant pressure in the first Test against Sri Lanka as he is the only one of Australia's potential new openers in form. Jaques will play his third Test when the series starts at the Gabba on Thursday and Ponting advised the newest member of his top order to "relax".
"[Chris] Rogers, [Brad] Hodge, [Shane] Watson and himself were the four mentioned, and he is the only one that has done anything at the start of this season, so he thoroughly deserves his opportunity," Ponting told the Sunday Telegraph. "If you look at things at the moment he's the only one who has grabbed that opportunity."
Rogers might have had the edge over Jaques at the end of last summer having topped the Pura Cup run tally with 1202 at 70.70. However, he made 9 and 17 in Western Australia's opening game this season and was then struck down with appendicitis.
Another hamstring injury ruled Watson out of the race, while Hodge was in poor form in the ODI series in India. Hodge tried opening in Victoria's Pura Cup match last week - he made 2 and 0 - and although he managed 162 on Saturday for his Melbourne club side Jaques already had the Test position sewn up.
After a strong Australia A tour of Pakistan, Jaques opened his Pura Cup season with 167 for New South Wales in the same match in which Rogers failed. "I don't think there is any pressure on him now,'' Ponting said.
"The pressure was on him in the first couple of games of the season, and now that he has been picked he can relax into things and hopefully get some runs in the first couple of Tests. He deserves his chance and he's a guy that loves batting and usually when he gets in he makes big scores, so hopefully he can do that for Australia."