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The Ashes: Australia ponder second Test bowling changes

Australia v England, second Test
Venue: Adelaide Oval Date: 3-7 December. Match starts 0000 GMT on 3 Dec Coverage: Listen live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW and 5 live Sports Extra; text commentary on BBC Sport website and live on Sky Sports 1


Mitchell Johnson
Johnson returned abysmal figures of 0-170 at the Gabba in Brisbane

Australia have bolstered their pace bowling options ahead of the second Ashes Test in Adelaide following the drawn opener with England in Brisbane.

England racked up an incredible 517-1 in their second innings to save the first Test, with none of Australia's front-line bowlers taking a wicket.

And Ryan Harris and Doug Bollinger have now been added to the XI that played at the Gabba in a 13-man squad.

Mitchell Johnson, who returned 0-170, would appear most under pressure.

The left-arm seamer has taken 166 Test wickets but only 11 in his last five Tests - and five of those came in one innings against India at Mohali in October.

He struggled to find any rhythm on a flat wicket at the Gabba and when asked if Johnson would be selected for the second Test, which starts at midnight on Thursday, Australia captain Ricky Ponting said: "I don't think anyone is a certainty."

Ponting demands improvement

Bollinger, 29, is also a left-armer but one who, unlike Johnson, prefers to use the new ball. He narrowly lost out to Peter Siddle when the final XI was chosen for Brisbane, having recovered from a stomach injury which forced him to return early from the recent tour to India.

Harris, meanwhile, was omitted when Australia reduced their original 17-man squad to 13 ahead of the first Test but the decision to include him for Adelaide was backed by Ponting.

The 31-year-old first broke into the Australian side on the tour of New Zealand in March, taking nine wickets in two Tests before succumbing to a knee injury that required surgery.

He looked to have put that problem behind him, though, taking six wickets for Queensland in their drawn Sheffield Shield match with Victoria over the weekend.

"Everyone I've spoken to, fitness staff-wise, believe the injury that he had would be fine for a test match. We'll get a good look at him in Adelaide and see where he's at but it's nice to have him back around the group," said Ponting.

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"There's lots of things to like about him. His success at international cricket shows he's one of those guys whose just meant to be playing.

"He's a great competitor, he runs in all day for you and is the sort of guy who will bowl the right length for Adelaide conditions.

"He'll run in and bang the ball in down there, which is crucial if you're going to get the best out of the Adelaide wicket, and if it happens to reverse swing he can do that as well."

Former England captain Michael Vaughan believe Australia are certain to change their bowling line-up following a pounding in the second innings in Brisbane, where it took the hosts 152 overs to take a single wicket.

"If Australia stick with the same XI, it's madness," said Vaughan on Test Match Special. "If I were still an England player and I faced the same attack again in Adelaide I'd think it was Christmas."

And Ponting conceded Australia would have to improve if they are to overcome a defiant England side in the next Test.

"We probably haven't played our best the last couple of days of the game," he said. "The wicket did change dramatically and the last three days of the game have been dominated by the bat.

"We've got some work to do. We just weren't able to mount any pressure on them. They played very well and you have got to give them credit."


Australia squad for second Test: Ricky Ponting (captain), Shane Watson, Simon Katich, Michael Clarke, Mike Hussey, Marcus North, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Xavier Doherty, Peter Siddle, Ben Hilfenhaus, Doug Bollinger, Ryan Harris.



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see also
Records fall as England draw Test
29 Nov 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer's key moments
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Strauss buoyant after Gabba draw
29 Nov 10 |  Cricket
First Ashes Test in photos
29 Nov 10 |  England
Australia selectors drop Hauritz
20 Nov 10 |  Australia
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket


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