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Johnson's future may rest in Ashes

Last updated on: December 1, 2010 11:50 IST

Johnson did a 'Harmison' in Brisbane

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Australia pace bowler Mitchell Johnson's wayward first Ashes Test performance in Brisbane has placed him squarely in the firing line for media and fan criticism as his dented side prepare for the second match in Adelaide on Friday.

Johnson finished with match figures of 0-170 and bowled one ball so wide commentators said he had "done a Harmison" in reference to the England fast bowler's first delivery in the last Ashes series in Australia that sailed to second slip.

Australia's selectors responded to the bowling attack's lack of penetration in the second innings when England scored 517 for one by recalling Doug Bollinger and Ryan Harris for the second match and captain Ricky Ponting put his attack on notice.

Photographs: Reuters


Image: Mitchell Johnson

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Johnson gets support from captain Ponting

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While Ponting said he did not want to single out Johnson, he admitted he had seen the left-arm quick "bowl better", and the 29-year-old's performances have been analysed and critiqued by commentators, former players and the media.

Johnson, however, has received support from within the Australian setup with coach Tim Neilsen preferring to give him time to sort out his problems.

"No doubt when players don't get a result they look at the scoreboard, and the reason we're talking about Mitch is he's got no wickets on the scoreboard," Nielsen told reporters in Adelaide.

"He didn't bowl as well as he would have liked and that's our job over the next couple of days to make sure we get him back up and going."


Image: Mitchell Johnson (left) with Ricky Ponting

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'He's still one of our key bowlers'

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National selector Greg Chappell also backed Johnson, who has taken just 11 wickets in his past five tests at an average of 58.90, and made a 19-ball duck and dropped a catch in Brisbane.

"We obviously recognise he's not in the peak of form at the moment, so we're keen to see him back to that as soon as possible," Chappell told the Sydney Morning Herald.

"Players go through ups and downs in various stages of their careers. He's currently not in the peak of form but that doesn't mean he won't be back into that form soon.

"Obviously there's a few things he needs to sort out, and hopefully that can be done in the next few days.

"He's still one of our key bowlers. We're keen to see him back to his best form as soon as possible, if that's in Adelaide, that will be great."


Image: Mitchell Johnson

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