Fired-up Johnson let’s fly in the nets


BRISBANE: Australia’s pace spearhead Mitchell Johnson said Tuesday he was ready to bowl fast and aggressively to unsettle England’s batting in the Ashes series.
Johnson will lead the home attack as Australia set out at the Gabba on Thursday to win back the Ashes urn they lost to England last year. The left-armer tested out his new Ashes game plan on his team-mates in the nets on Tuesday, bowling short-pitched deliveries that had skipper Ricky Ponting using all his evasive skills to escape without injury.
Australia’s all-time leading runscorer had to fend off one brutish bouncer from Johnson, which reared off a good length to the skipper’s throat. Johnson, who wants to target England captain and opener Andrew Strauss with bouncers, fine-tuned some his Ashes strategies following some video analysis.
“I was trying to bowl the length I want to bowl, particularly to their top order,” Johnson told reporters. “Every batter that came in today, I was thinking of English batters. So when Shane (Watson) came in today I was thinking of a (Kevin) Pietersen sort of type.
I’m really raring to go, to get out there and to bowl fast and really be aggressive out there.” Pietersen got under Johnson’s skin to such an extent that team-mate Stuart Clark had to separate the pair following an incident in the warm-ups before the first Ashes Test in Cardiff in 2009. Johnson said he has learnt from his troubles in last year’s series, which included some wayward bowling in the second Test at Lord’s.
“I know now what it’s like to be around an Ashes series and what the build-up of it is all about,” Johnson said. Selectors said that leg-spinner Steven Smith has been released from the Australian squad, meaning that left-arm orthodox spinner Xavier Doherty is in line to make his Test debut. The squad will remain at 13 until a final decision is made on vice-captain Michael Clarke’s availability for selection because of a back complaint with Usman Khawaja on stand by.