Johnson backs Aussie bowling change for Lord's
Australia's left-arm tearaway lists the one player he says must come in for Lord's, and the one Australia cannot afford to drop
Sam Ferris in London
12 August 2019, 09:31 AM AEST
Former Australia quick Mitchell Johnson says he would make one change to Australia's XI for the second Ashes Test, with Mitch Starc to replace James Pattinson for the clash at Lord's.
Johnson can also see veteran Peter Siddle playing all five Tests in the series having impressed in the first Test at Edgbaston where Australia won by 251 runs.
The iconic slope at Lord's, which drops 2.5 metres across the playing surface, is why Johnson would draft in Starc for Pattinson for the second Test despite the Victorian's successful comeback to international cricket in Birmingham.
"I'd go for Starc and probably have Pattinson out," Johnson told cricket.com.au in London.
"As much as I want to see (Josh) Hazlewood go well you can't drop Sidds.
"He's been really useful and especially on the slope I think he'd be very good and he just backed up (off-spinner Nathan) Lyon really well.
"And (Pat) Cummins is in his own little world, just leave him be.
Johnson continued: "It's hard to change a winning side but I'd like to see Starc still come charging in.
"The slope comes into it, big time. Left-armer, bit of a different angle.
"We saw in the last Test the (Australian fast bowlers) coming around the wicket a fair bit … I'm not too sure about that. Someone's got to stay over and one around to left-hand batters.
"So maybe a left-hand bowler would be ideal."
Starc was overlooked for the first Test but bowled with his trademark pace and hostility in Australia's tour match against Worcestershire at new Road, where he captured 2-56 from 15.5 overs.
The 28-year-old took 2-102 from 29 overs at Lord's four years ago when Steve Smith racked up 215 (and 58 in the second innings) in Australia's whopping 405-run win.
But in the World Cup this year, Starc was lethal at the 'Home of Cricket'.
In two matches, against finalists New Zealand and England, Starc picked up 9-69 from 18.2 overs.
While it might be a different format, it showed how Starc has mastered bowling on the exaggerated slope at Lord's which has brought so many bowlers – Johnson included – unstuck in the past.
Familiarity with the various grounds, pitches and conditions is why Johnson would stick with Siddle for the second Test and why he can see the 34-year-old playing every Test on tour.
Siddle played just one Test on the 2015 tour – the series finale at The Oval – but Johnson said the right-armer should have played more on the seaming wickets that were dished up during the campaign.
"I actually think Sidds is a real weapon and I wouldn't be surprised if he played every game this series," Johnson said. "Just after how I saw him bowl in that first (Test).
"Thinking about last time we were here in '15 he could have been really handy on some of the pitches we played on like Notts (Nottingham, where Australia were bowled out for 60 on a green pitch) – I think he was pretty close to playing that one.
"Just those things and the experience of him and being here and playing.
"I think he's giving it his last run as well so he's got plenty of energy, he really wants to go out there and enjoy it and that really helps as a player."
Siddle was Australia's most frugal fast bowler in the first Test, conceding just 80 runs from 39 overs.
That kind of control allows the bowler at the other end to attack, just as Lyon did on the fifth day at Edgbaston where he collected 6-49 to bowl Australia to a famous win.
Siddle has played that holding role to perfection in the past, and Johnson said those role players are "vital" in a diverse bowling unit.
"The '13-'14 (Ashes) series, Sidds was vital in that series," said Johnson, who took 37 wickets in the 5-0 whitewash.
"He didn’t get as many wickets as he would have liked but he did a job and an amazing job for the team.
"We all appreciated it because I was able to lay my style of cricket, Ryan Harris did his thing, Sidds did his thing, backed up with Nathan Lyon."
2019 Qantas Ashes Tour of England
Australia squad: Tim Paine (c), Cameron Bancroft, Pat Cummins, Marcus Harris, Josh Hazlewood, Travis Head, Usman Khawaja, Marnus Labuschagne, Nathan Lyon, Mitchell Marsh, Michael Neser, James Pattinson, Peter Siddle, Steve Smith, Mitchell Starc, Matthew Wade, David Warner.
England squad: Joe Root (c), Jofra Archer, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Joe Denly, Jack Leach, Jason Roy, Ben Stokes (vc), Chris Woakes.
First Test: Australia beat England by 251 runs at Edgbaston
Second Test: August 14-18,Lord's
Third Test: August 22-26, Headingley
Tour match: Australians v Derbyshire, August 29-31
Fourth Test: September 4-8, Old Trafford
Fifth Test: September 12-16, The Oval