Captain Strauss is target for Ashes, admits Ponting

AUSTRALIA captain Ricky Ponting has begun the mind games ahead of this summer&rsquo;s Ashes series by admitting his side will target England skipper Andrew Strauss.<br /><br />Strauss struggled to contain the Australian pace attack during the tour Down Under in 2006-07, averaging 24.70 in a series in which England were whitewashed 5-0.<br /><br />But since taking over as captain from Kevin Pietersen back in December, the Middlesex left-hander has rediscovered his form with the bat and taken his career average up to 43.96 with 17 Test centuries to his name.<br /><br />Australia announce their squad for the Ashes today with pace duo Brett Lee and Stuart Clark both expected to be named. Lee dismissed Strauss three times in the 2006-07 series, while Clark got his man on four occasions.<br /><br />Now Ponting is plotting the opener&rsquo;s downfall once again in order to avenge their infamous series defeat in England back in 2005. &ldquo;He&rsquo;s an important player for them,&rdquo; Ponting said of his counterpart. &ldquo;We had the better of him out here in Australia last time, we had him under a lot of pressure and it&rsquo;s important that we start the series off the same way against them over there.&rdquo;<br /><br />Ponting, however, admits he has been impressed with England&rsquo;s form in the build-up to the first Test in Cardiff on 8 July, and accepts his side are in for a tough contest.<br /><br />He added: &ldquo;They&rsquo;ve been pretty relentless and ruthless in making West Indies follow on in both Test matches. I&rsquo;ve said for a while they&rsquo;ll shape up as a good side.&rdquo;