There was one other Australian retirement last year, Justin Langer’s. There was no real worry about replacing him, however. That’s not to dismiss Langer, who was as tough as biltong at the top of the order, it’s just that great Australian batsmen seemingly DO grow on trees.
So Australia called Phil Jaques down from a nearby eucalyptus for the first Test against Sri Lanka and he’s promptly scored a hundred. He was dropped twice, but Jaques isn’t the kind of batsmen to let something like that bother him.
Last January, Phil Jaques made 94 on his one-day international debut, the highest debut score by an Australian. They dropped him for the next match.
At the very start of England’s Ashes tour, he battered 112 for the Prime Minister’s XI in a one-day game and knowing he still wasn’t close to the Australia side, he hit another hundred against England two days later, this time in a three-day match while representing New South Wales.
So overall we’re not hugely surprised by Phil Jaques taking to Test cricket like a depressive to gin.