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Australia look to battle without fiery Johnson

india Updated: Mar 19, 2014 00:14 IST
Nilankur Das
Nilankur Das
Hindustan Times
World T20

Looking at the wickets laid out for the World T20 in Fatullah, it is hard to imagine a team will miss its fast bowler. But the perspective changes when the bowler is Mitchell Johnson. The 32-year-old left-arm pacer was instrumental in Australia’s Ashes whitewash of England and the Test series win over South Africa before Darren Lehmann and his boys landed here.

Johnson’s 37 wickets in the 5-0 humiliation of England in January and his 22 scalps in the series win in South Africa immediately after has not only helped Lehmann quickly change the atmosphere in the Aussie dressing room but also affected other teams in a not so positive manner.

The X-factor
“We will miss Mitch, no doubt about that. Looking at his form over the last six months he has been absolutely unbelievable for us. The last time he was in the sub-continent in the One-day series against India, he was really good too. No doubt we will miss him. Having said that, Doug Bollinger is an able replacement and we are really lucky. Doug has had significant experience in the sub-continent and has good pace. Doug has some good T20 pedigree and he can swing the ball. He has all those things that can be handy over here,” Australia’s T20 skipper George Bailey said on Tuesday.

The wickets in Mirpur still have some bounce provided the bowler is willing to exert, but those in Chittagong have been perennially lifeless. Not only are they slow the bounce is so low that it can make some of the fastest bowlers look military medium, unless of course the bowler is only aiming to bowl yorkers, a ploy perfected by Lasith Malinga.

Johnson had a cut in his toe on his landing foot during the third Test in Cape Town and was ruled out of the two-match T20 series, and it is taking more time than was expected to heal. Australia begin their campaign against Pakistan in Mirpur on March 23.