Johnson back to club cricket in search of Ashes form

Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson is to return to club cricket this weekend hoping to pick up a bit of form before the Ashes series against England begins later this month.

The 29-year-old, who took a hammering in Australia’s recent one-day series defeat to Sri Lanka, will turn out for the Wanneroo club in Western Australia on Saturday, two days before the Australia team for the first Ashes Test is announced.

“I’m not getting the results I would probably like in the wicket column,” Johnson told AAP on Thursday. “But I don’t feel like I’m out of form. I guess you look at the last game against Sri Lanka on Sunday and I felt really good.

“I don’t feel like I’m out of form, I just feel a little bit off the mark,” added Johnson, who took one wicket for 128 runs against the Sri Lankans.

“Hopefully I’ve got it right for the Ashes. The last time I played grade cricket, I was in Brisbane maybe four years ago … [I’m] looking forward to this weekend. Get a bit more bowling in before a big Ashes series.”

Australia are likely to play three fast bowlers on what should be a lively pitch for the first Ashes Test in Brisbane, which starts on November 25.

Ryan Harris put down a claim for one of those spots on Thursday by completing a five-wicket haul on his return to Sheffield Shield action after undergoing a knee operation in July.

Harris took 5-72 for Queensland against Tasmania in Hobart, including the wicket of Australia skipper Ricky Ponting.

The last specialist bowling berth for Brisbane is likely to go to a spinner and the favourite to take that place, Nathan Hauritz, again struggled on Thursday.

Hauritz, who had a poor tour of India earlier this year before being dropped for two of the three one-dayers against the Sri Lankans, failed to take a wicket at the cost of 74 runs for New South Wales against Victoria. — Reuters

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