Ponting wants pressure

Australian captain Ricky Ponting has stressed the importance for his team to continue applying pressure on the South African top order, starting with this weekend's tour-opening Twenty20 clash.

One batsman Ponting wants his bowlers to continue applying the squeeze on is his opposing number Graeme Smith.

The Proteas captain battled during the recent Test and one-day series in Australia, failing to pass 50 in either form of the game as his team crashed to a 0-2 loss in the Test series before missing the finals of the VB Series.

Ponting said speedster Brett Lee had thrived on the opportunity of spearheading the attack in absence of leading paceman Glenn McGrath, who has remained in Australia to look after his wife Jane, who has cancer.

"Because he has got his own game in such good shape at the moment he's really enjoying that extra responsibility," Ponting told AFP.

"We are looking forward to him over here. He has been vital to us in both forms of the game to be able to take wickets with the new ball and we will be looking for him to do that again for us."

"Brett's strengths are his pace and being able to use that in short bursts so that's the way we're planning to use him."

That will place added pressure on the inexperienced pair of Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken, who have been asked to fill McGrath's role for the one-dayers.

"I couldn't really have been much happier with the way Stuart Clark and Nathan Bracken have performed over the summer and really matured into good international bowlers," Ponting said.

"We're not exactly sure if we are going to have Glenn for the Test part of the tour. We'll have to wait and see how that pans out."

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