Hasn’t played a Test match since March
Perth, 11 November
The prospects of an Ashes Test recall for Mitchell Johnson increased Monday when the veteran pacer was rested from a domestic Sheffield Shield match for his state team.
The 32-year-old left-armer hasn’t played a Test match since March, but has been in impressive form in the limited-overs arena for Australia and could form an experienced pace attack with Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle for the series opener against England in Brisbane starting Nov. 21. Johnson has taken 205 wickets in 51 Tests, and has had some success with the bat with a high of 123 not out and an unbeaten 96 against South Africa among his seven Test half centuries.
Harris and Siddle have also been rested from their provincial teams this week and are expected to be included in the Test line-up when it is announced Tuesday.
Australia’s bowling stocks have been ravaged by injuries to young pacers Mitchell Starc, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins, and doubts over all-rounder Shane Watson’s ability to bowl in the first Test because of a hamstring strain. Johnson has had mixed success in his nine Tests against England, but his sheer pace has caused the English trouble in Australia before.
Australia will be relying on improved line and length from Johnson, together with pace up around 155 kph (96 mph), to bother the English batsmen.
In the last Ashes series on Australian soil, Johnson was dropped after conceding 170 runs without taking a wicket in the first Test in Brisbane but responded with a man-of-the-match performance when he was recalled for the third Test in Perth.
His nine wickets in Perth helped Australia to its only win in a series otherwise dominated by England.
Harris, who took 24 wickets in Australia’s 3-0 defeat in the last Ashes series in England earlier this year, said Johnson was ready to go after some strong performances in Australia’s ODI series in India last month. Johnson was overlooked for the last Ashes tour following a poor series in England in 2009 and will be desperate to re-establish himself in the Test line-up."I have been watching him bowl over in India and it is a bit scary, to be honest," Harris said on Monday. "He had them jumping over there. He is bowling fast.
DRS doubted: Michael Clarke has raised doubts over the Decision Review System saying the controversial technology should not be used if it isn’t perfect as it can “distort the process.”