Adelaide: Australian coach Tim Nielsen has ramped up the pressure on struggling Australian batsmen Mike Hussey and Marcus North after their latest batting failures ahead of next month's Ashes series with England.
Hussey made a first-ball duck and North was out for just 10 playing for Western Australia in their domestic Sheffield Shield match against South Australia in Adelaide on Sunday.
While the pair are fighting to retain their Test spots, emerging South Australian batsman Callum Ferguson impressed with a sparkling century.
Nielsen said 25-year-old Ferguson was a "big chance" to make Australia's Test side for the Ashes series opener in Brisbane starting November 25.
"I think he's a big chance, runs do the talking, don't they?" Nielsen told reporters on Sunday.
Hussey smacked spinner Aaron O'Brien to cover and was caught on the first ball he faced, while North, who was dropped before scoring, was bowled 10 runs later again off O'Brien's bowling.
Hussey, 35, has managed just two Test centuries in almost two years.
"It would be nice for him to get some runs, but we can't panic too much," Nielsen said of Hussey.
"That (a golden duck) is going to happen in the game of cricket. "The thing for Huss would be to get a couple of really big scores to confirm in his mind that he's back in form."
Nielsen said North, who has made five centuries from 19 Tests but averages under 38, needed to demonstrate consistency at Test level.
"There's been a lot of talk about Marcus North, for example. He's made five Test match hundreds now -- there is a lot of blokes that play 50 Test matches and don't make five Test match hundreds," Nielsen said.
"Every chance these players get is another chance for them to push their own cause for being in that (Test) side.
"Marcus is coming off a Test match hundred, he played really well in the one-day game against Victoria.
"That's one of the things in his favour, when he goes back to the domestic level he plays well and shows that he plays well.
"The challenge for us and for him is to show he can be consistent at that top level."
Ferguson, whose timely hundred was watched by national selector Greg Chappell, impressed Nielsen.
"I think he's done a tremendous job," Nielsen said.
"He's gone from strength to strength over the last couple of years.
"He had a real breakthrough season two years ago then unfortunately hurt his knee.
"He's come back from injury and made runs whenever he's been given the opportunity."
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