Ponting confirms ‘poor form’ behind Johnson’s axing for second Ashes Test

Thursday, December 2, 2010

ADELAIDE - Australian captain Ricky Ponting has confirmed that struggling fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has been dropped from the 12-man squad for the second Test match of the Ashes series, starting in Adelaide on Friday.

Ponting said that Johnson’s poor form in his wicketless Ashes opener cost him a place for the Test.

“Mitchell Johnson is out of the side, so we are down to the other quickies left and we’ll decide the final make-up of the XI in the morning. The selectors felt that he just down on a bit of form and down on a bit of rhythm, I think that was probably highlighted in the last game,” the Sydney Morning Herald quoted Ponting, as saying.

“As we all know, the game of Test match cricket is hard enough as it is without having to try and find those types of things in the middle of a Test match,” he added.

Ponting however said that Johnson might make a comeback during the third Test in Perth.

“He has got a little bit of time now obviously before the Perth Test match to hopefully rediscover some of that rhythm,” Ponting said.

“Everyone standing around the nets and watching him and watching him during the game last week realised he was a little bit off the mark and a bit off bowling the way that we know he can bowl.”

“Quite often when we see most of our guys, it only takes (bowling coach) Troy (Cooley) and the coach (Tim Nielsen) and myself a few minutes to stand there and watch, and you just know whether those guys are in good touch or not,” he added.

Johnson had a horror time during the drawn first Test in Brisbane, where he finished with match figures of 0-170, dropping a catch and making a 19-ball duck.

The left-arm fast bowler admitted to understandable disappointment at losing his place, but said that a lack of wickets in the first Test had counted against him.

“I’m a strike bowler for Australia and I need to be getting wickets,” he said.

Johnson is likely to be replaced in the starting XI by Doug Bollinger, who was surprisingly left out of the opening Test when the selectors opted for first innings hero Peter Siddle.

Bollinger has picked up 47 wickets at an average of 22.02 in his past 10 matches, but has been out of action since the recent tour of India due to a side strain.

Australia’s squad for second Test: (12th man to be named): Ricky Ponting (captain), Michael Clarke, Simon Katich, Shane Watson, Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Xavier Doherty, Ryan Harris, Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger. (ANI)

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