Johnson axed for first time

2010-12-02 06:58
Mitchell Johnson

Adelaide - Strike bowler Mitchell Johnson has been dropped from the Australian team for the first time for Friday's second Ashes Test against England at the Adelaide Oval.

Johnson, Australia's leading active wicket-taker with 166 wickets in 39 Tests, was left out of the squad with a decision on a final 11 to be made on the morning of the match.

Captain Ricky Ponting confirmed Johnson had been omitted so he could address some issues with his bowling after going without a wicket for 170 runs for the first time in his Test career during last Monday's drawn Gabba Test.

Fast bowlers Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris, who were added to the squad after the Brisbane Test, are vying for places in the team.

"Selectors felt Mitch was down on a bit of form and down on rhythm, that was probably highlighted in the last game," Ponting told a news conference on Thursday.

"The game of Test match cricket is hard enough as it is without having to try to find those things in the middle of a Test match.

"With a short turnaround as well he now has a bit of time before the (third) Perth Test match to hopefully rediscover some of that rhythm."

Johnson, whose left-arm slinging style has a small margin for error and is prone to waywardness, took the news with grace.

"It's obviously disappointing but it's not the end of the world," Johnson told reporters.

"We still have a lot of Tests to go in this series and I'm going to be working my way back into this Test team and hopefully play a big part.

"There are some things I am going to work on in the nets and I was a little out of form in the last Test, so there's a bit of work for me to do."

Ponting indicated that the final spot in the team may be between swing bowler Ben Hilfenhaus and recalled paceman Ryan Harris, who began his domestic playing career in Adelaide before moving to Queensland.

"Hilfy's strengths are his ability to swing the new ball, he's a very consistent bowler and bowls in good areas to tie batters down," Ponting said.

"Ryan's strengths are that he has played much of his cricket here, he's probably slightly quicker in the air, he hits the wicket harder than Ben does and probably he's the better reverse swing bowler for later in the game.

"Ben did a terrific job for us in the India in conditions that will probably be similar to what the wicket will be like here, particularly over the last couple of days.

"It makes that decision a pretty difficult one which is why we need a fair bit of time to think about it."

Australia - Ricky Ponting (capt), Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Xavier Doherty, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus. (12th man to be named).

Read more on:    ashes  |  mitchell johnson  |  ricky ponting  |  adelaide

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