Coach - Mitch to bounce back
Nielsen confident paceman will re-discover top form
Last Updated: 27/07/09 8:37am
Johnson: in poor form
Australia coach Tim Nielsen has faith Mitchell Johnson will halt a dip in his bowling form at Edgbaston this week.
England v Australia
3rd npower Ashes Test
10am, July 30, Sky Sports 1 & HD1
"I was pleased with Mitchell. He bowled fast, kept running in. I'm at him a little bit about not dropping his head and get too down - and I reckon he's done that pretty well. He'll keep trying hard."
Tim Nielsen Quotes of the week
Johnson managed just one wicket - that of tailender David Wigley - after leaking 107 runs from 18 overs in the victory over Northamptonshire at Wantage Road.
His miserable figures were a continuation of frailties evident in both the draw at Cardiff and defeat at Lord's, with which Australia have begun their Ashes campaign.
Nielsen, however, is confident the left-armer is going the right way about helping himself - and insists he is one of several pushing for a place in the attack as the tourists seek to bounce back in Birmingham.
"He's probably feeling like everything he tries is not working, every time he gets an edge it doesn't go to hand," the coach said of the 27-year-old.
"There's no doubt that as a sportsman it is nice to get some sort of positive feedback, by getting a wicket or some runs or whatever," Nielsen acknowledges.
"At the moment it hasn't worked for him. But that is the challenge of this game.
"You don't walk out every week and get the results you'd like. But the good players who last for long periods of time have to keep 'fronting up'.
"That's why I was pleased with Mitchell. He bowled fast, kept running in. I'm at him a little bit about not dropping his head and get too down - and I reckon he's done that pretty well. He'll keep trying hard."
As for Johnson, one of the first names on the team list when Australia began the summer, Nielsen sees him as one of a pack of bowlers with much to offer.
"It will depend on what the wicket is at Edgbaston - we're hearing it is not very progressed in its preparation," he said, when asked about selection for the third npower Test.
"We'll then decide what the best team is out of our squad, and if that's five frontline bowlers we'll certainly consider it."
All-rounders Andrew McDonald and Shane Watson both did plenty in Northampton to put themselves in the frame, as did former frontline seamer Stuart Clark.
"He's always been close - he was right in the mix for the first two Tests," Nielsen said of the latter.
"The attractive option Watson brings is his batting and bowling as an all-round player; Stuart Clark brings us height, bounce and accuracy; Mitchell Johnson brings us real pace and left arm; (Peter) Siddle keeps hammering away all day at 145 (kph) plus, and (Ben) Hilfenhaus is an outswing bowler.
"Even Andrew McDonald's come in. He bowled beautifully, got 70 opening the batting - he's done nothing but push his claims.
"He played a pivotal role in four Tests in a row - and we won three of them - against South Africa. He offers us flexibility with our bowling, with long spells, got runs in his last Test innings and he catches well and he's a 'ripping' bloke around the team. He brings plenty to the table.
"We know we have the options. Our challenge is just to bowl better than we did at Lord's."