Tim Nielsen Backs Mitchell Johnson
Struggling Australian spearhead Mitchell Johnson has been backed by team coach Tim Nielsen despite another terrible game in a three-day match against Northampton.
The Australians won by 135 runs on Sunday but the left-arm pace-man is now in danger of losing his place for the third Test, beginning at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Johnson performance was poorest against Northampton. His only wicket was the very last to fall in the match, giving him second innings figures of 1-65 from 11.1 overs .He scored 0-42 from seven overs in the first innings.
"Over the last two years we've played some pretty good Test match cricket and Mitchell's been at the forefront of that," Nielsen said.
"There have been lots of times when batsmen and bowlers have been out of form and we've stuck with them and shown some faith."
"At the moment, we're working hard to get him bowling as well as we possibly can and he's getting closer every time, so we'll have a look at the conditions when we get to Edgbaston and make a decision from there," Nielsen said.
"He hasn't bowled as well as he would have liked at Lord's (during the second Test) and he had times in this game where he went for four, five and six an over with the ball flying through gully and slip."
"That's the nature of the beast."
Nielsen claimed that Johnson's problems were both technical and mental.
"He probably feels like everything he tries, nothing works. If he gets an edge it doesn't go to hand," said Nielsen.
"There's no doubt that as a sports person it is nice to get some positive feedback by getting a wicket or making some runs," he said.
"At the moment, it hasn't worked for him. That's the challenge of this game.
"The good players who last a long time have to keep fronting up, whether it be good or bad, and keep doing the right things.
"That's why I was pleased with Mitchell. He bowled fast at the end."