Australian media and fans yesterday called for Mitchell Johnson to be left out of Thursday’s third Ashes Test amid mounting concerns over his lack of bowling form.
The left-arm pace spearhead has been struggling with his eight wickets going for 331 runs in the opening two Tests of the series and it got no better with match figures of one wicket for 107 runs off 18.1 overs in the weekend tour match against Northamptonshire.
Pundits and cricket followers chorused that it was time to find someone else to share the new ball.
“It’s hard to justify Johnson’s inclusion in a four-pronged attack,” the Sydney Morning Herald’s Peter Roebuck said. “Australia cannot afford to carry a pace bowler on a wing and a prayer. Johnson has had a bad tour. He’s been in England for months. His action has gone to pot and his confidence is in his boots. Perhaps too much was expected.”
The Australian said Johnson “was by far the worst” of Australia’s bowlers in the three-day match at Northampton, which the tourists won by 135 runs. Fellow pace man Stuart Clark impressed to boost his chances of a recall.
“If form is any guide, Johnson should be replaced by Stuart Clark for the third Test at Edgbaston,” the Australian’s Malcolm Conn said.
Fans also called time on the misfiring Johnson.
“When batsmen are out of form they get dropped. So should bowlers. Being 1-0 down, we need five fit and in-form bowlers to win a Test,” one fan said.