Jaques in for the long haul
Australia's Phil Jaques is determined to make the most of his chance when he opens the batting in the first Test.
Last Updated: 06/11/07 5:21pm
Phil Jaques is determined to make the most of his opportunity when he opens the batting for Australia in the first Test against Sri Lanka in Brisbane.
The 28-year-old's parents were both born in the United Kingdom and he has spent much of his career playing his cricket in the County Championship.
But his decision to commit his international future to Australia was rewarded when he won his first two Test caps against Bangladesh last year and he is now seen as the long-term successor to the retired Justin Langer.
"I decided that I wanted to fulfil that dream of playing for Australia. As it's turned out it's been a good one," Jaques said.
"I think it would have been unfinished business for me if I hadn't come back when I was given an opportunity.
"I'm really comfortable with the decision that I've made and hopefully I've got seven or eight good years here - maybe more."
Jaques is particularly excited at the chance to partner Matthew Hayden.
"He's a larger than life type of character but a really good bloke and I can't wait to bat with him," added Jaques.
"Hopefully we can really develop into something special as a partnership."
Sri Lanka coach Trevor Bayliss admitted he will have one eye on the performance of the opener, having worked with him when he was in charge of New South Wales, but it will not distract him from his prime focus.
"I've obviously had a fair bit to do with him over the nine or 10 years from Under-19s through to now," Bayliss said.
"Hopefully the NSW boys can do well but Sri Lanka still win the Test match."
Bayliss has a few selection posers ahead of the game at the Gabba, most notably whether to pick four seam bowlers alongside ace spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
"If we go in with four fast bowlers then Prasanna (Jayawardene) will have to bat at number six," he explained.
"Our batting is the challenge and if they (batsmen) can find form then we could score fast."
The Sri Lanka coach has also backed veteran left-hander Sanath Jayasuriya to find his form.
The 38-year-old made a combined total of three runs in two innings in the warm-up match against Queensland - twice falling victim to seamer Ashley Noffke.
Bayliss said: "Sanath got a couple of good balls and it was a difficult pitch to bat on.
"But I don't see how it could happen again in the Test match as the pitch is not expected to be as quick as the one we played against Queensland."