Aussies rally behind Johnson
Australia coach Tim Nielsen has backed Mitchell Johnson to come good in the third Ashes Test.
Last Updated: 21/07/09 5:23pm
Australia coach Tim Nielsen has backed under-pressure fast bowler Mitchell Johnson to come good in the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.
Johnson, the leader of the tourists' attack, has taken eight wickets at 41.37 in the first two games of the series.
The Queensland left-armer, 27, has struggled to come to terms with English conditions on his maiden Ashes tour.
But Nielsen is confident Johnson can rediscover his best form as Australia look to bounce back from their Lord's thrashing.
"Most importantly we need to keep things in perspective," said Nielsen.
"He's had a brilliant two years, he's done nothing but improve in every Test since then, we're not hiding from the fact that he didn't have a brilliant Test here, but he got better as the Test went on, which was pleasing.
"He's been too good for us to think 'oh, he's not going to play at Edgbaston'."
Johnson, battling with his low-slung action out in the middle, appeared to lose belief and suggestions from Down Under are that he is the archetypal 'confidence player'.
Nielsen responded: "We all are, it's silly to suggest that there's anybody who is not driven by confidence or not feeling good about themselves.
"We're working with Ricky Ponting at times because he feels that he's not hitting the ball well and his confidence takes a jolt.
"But younger players, especially in an Ashes series if things don't start well then their confidence does take a hit and that hurts them.
"So we'll be working hard to get him thinking well and back on track."
Australia will look to regroup during their tour match against on Northamptonshire from July 24-26 before the third Test gets under way in Birmingham on July 30.
Stuart Clark, the leading wicket-taker during Australia's 5-0 success in the 2006-07 Ashes, will almost certainly play at Northampton and is being tipped for a Test return.
Opener Phillip Hughes' lack of form may also be a concern, although their back-up batsman is all-rounder Shane Watson, whose experience of going in first is limited primarily to one-day cricket.