Sydney: Australian captain Ricky Ponting has publicly dared England skipper Andrew Strauss to stand up to an onslaught of pressure coming his way.
Boldly declaring that Strauss would be Australia's No.1 target for the Ashes series, Ponting has begun a merciless psychological campaign that has been used successfully against previous opposition leaders.
“Being captain, as we all know the Australian team tries to target the captain a little bit and put the captain of opposition teams under a bit more pressure. If you can do that, you can generally take another couple of the guys down with him," he said.
“That is what we are trying to do. We had the better of him out here in Australia last time, we had him under a lot of pressure here and it is important that we start the series off the same way over there," The Sydney Morning Herald quoted him, as saying.
Australia will be attempting to invoke in Strauss memories of the humiliating 2006-07 series, won 5-0 by Ponting"s men.
“Since he has been captain he has played very, very well; I think he had his best series against the West Indies over there in his first as captain," Ponting said, referring to the previous series in the Caribbean lost by England.
Ponting said Kevin Pietersen was England"s most dangerous player.