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Page last updated at 17:21 GMT, Monday, 27 July 2009 18:21 UK

Johnson will come good - Haddin

Third Ashes Test, Edgbaston: England v Australia
Dates: Thursday, 30 July to Monday, 3 August Start time: 1100 BST
Coverage: Live Test Match Special commentary (from 1025 BST on day one, 1045 BST on remaining days) on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 Live sports extra, the Red Button and BBC Sport website. Live text commentary on BBC Sport website and mobile phones. Also live on Sky Sports.


Mitchell Johnson
Johnson went for 200 runs from his 38.4 overs at Lords

Australian wicketkeeper Brad Haddin has played down concerns over the form of pace bowler Mitchell Johnson ahead of the third Ashes Test at Edgbaston.

Highly-rated Johnson has struggled for consistency so far in the series but Haddin still feels the 27-year-old left-armer has plenty to offer.

"He's still taking wickets for us and in his game he still feels pretty comfortable," said Haddin.

"From where I'm standing his pace is still up and it's all pretty good."

The form of Johnson has been one of the major talking points regarding the Australian side after the Tests at Cardiff and Lord's.

Johnson came into the tour with a reputation as one of the world's fiercest wicket takers following an impressive tour of South Africa which saw him spearhead the victorious Australian attack, taking 16 wickets at an average of 25 in the three Tests.

However, in Cardiff his accuracy deserted him as the Australian's were unable to bowl England out to secure victory, and at Lord's he was costly as the home side secured a 115-run win and a 1-0 lead in the series.

So far he has taken eight wickets at 41.37 and his place is under threat with the potential return of Stuart Clark and Shane Watson from injury.

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However, Haddin feels there are mitigating circumstances surrounding Johnson's performances and has backed him to rediscover his previous form.

"Obviously he's had a very successful time with the Australian team, his bowling was outstanding in South Africa," said Haddin.

"I don't see that much of a difference to now, obviously there was different conditions in South Africa that allowed the ball to swing a little bit more and we're using different balls here that are probably starting to swing a little bit later.

"As much as has been written about him not performing, he's still taking a lot of wickets and he bowled great in the tour game."

In the recent tour match against Northants at Wantage Road, which Australia won by 135 runs, Johnson finished with match figures of 1-107 from 18.1 overs, only claiming one tail-end wicket - whilst fellow seamer Clark claimed 4-74 from 23 overs.

Clark, who took an impressive 26 wickets at 17 in the 2006/07 Ashes series where Australia whitewashed the touring England side 5-0, is now fully fit following an elbow injury that kept him out of the home and away series against South Africa.

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After playing in both of Australia's pre-Ashes tour matches against Sussex and the England Lions but overlooked for both Cardiff and Lord's, 33-year-old Clark believes he is the man to turn the series around for the tourists.

"I'm older and I get the ball to bounce a little bit more (than the other Australia bowlers), being a little bit taller," said Clark. "That's probably my biggest weapon on these wickets. It can make you a handful."

"I've sat on the sidelines and watched, and it's been pretty hard to do that for two Test matches.

"I may have to watch for the next three - but I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure I control my destiny."

Australia coach Tim Nielsen admits that Clark is one potential, attractive option available to the side, but more important is the need for the bowlers to simply perform better than in the first two Tests.

"He (Clark) was right in the mix for the first two Tests," said Nielsen. "He brings us height, bounce and accuracy.

"Johnson brings us real pace and left arm; (Peter) Siddle keeps hammering away all day at 145 (kph) plus, (Ben) Hilfenhaus is an outswing bowler and even Andrew McDonald's come in and bowled beautifully, got 70 opening the batting - he's done nothing but push his claims.

"The attractive option Watson brings is his batting and bowling as an all-round player.

"We know we have the options. Our challenge is just to bowl better than we did at Lord's."

One bowler who remains absent from the Australian side is Brett Lee, whose rib injury prevented him from playing against Northants and looks likely to keep him out of action at Edgbaston.



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see also
Ashes memories: Edgbaston
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Bell to bat at four for England
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Johnson toils in Australian win
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Watson makes case for Ashes spot
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Lee doubtful for Edgbaston Test
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Edgbaston Test pitch like 'jelly'
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Pietersen to miss rest of Ashes
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Ponting backs under-fire Johnson
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Flintoff inspires England victory
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Defiant England cling on for draw
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Australia's smiling assassin
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Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
Australia in England 2009
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