3 Dec 2010

England spike Aussie big gun before second test

7:20 am on 3 December 2010

England go into the second Ashes test campaign at another bastion of Australian cricket this afternoon buoyed by the knowledge they have already spiked one of the old enemy's big guns.

While Mitchell Johnson's replacement could hardly prove less effective than the leftarm paceman was in Brisbane , Australia's decision to drop the 2009 ICC Cricketer of the Year can only count as another major blow from the tourists.

Their first blow was delivered at the Gabba earlier this week, when England's top order batted for two days to steer the side to the safety of a draw at a ground where Australians have long taken Ashes victories, and England collapses, for granted.

However England's captain Andrew Strauss believes this is a very different England team with none of the fragility that characterised previous touring sides since their last series victory in Australia 24 years ago.

With Johnson out of the equation, Doug Bollinger is likely to partner Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus , although the latter's place is also under threat from Ryan Harris.