16 Jan 2011

Johnson rested from first ODI

7:54 pm on 16 January 2011

The Australian pace bowler Mitchell Johnson will be rested from today's opening one-day cricket international against England at the MCG.

Both sides must name their 15-man squads for next month's World Cup by Wednesday and the decision to rest World Cup certainty Johnson gives fellow left-armer Doug Bollinger another chance to impress selectors.

It has been a disappointing summer for Bollinger. The NSW quick has battled injury, fitness and form woes and played only one Ashes Test.

Australia also included Xavier Doherty as their frontline spin option for today's game ahead of Nathan Hauritz, although both are well-placed to win spots in the World Cup squad.

Acting skipper Michael Clarke says Sunday's match will be a "very special" one as it marks the 40th anniversary of ODI cricket, which began on January 5, 1971 when Bill Lawry's Australians beat Ray Illingworth's England side by five wickets with 42 balls to spare.

Lawry's team - including 1970s icons Ian Chappell, Greg Chappell and Doug Walters - will be presented to the crowd during the innings break today.

Not only are the No.1-ranked Australians determined to avenge their Ashes defeat with a strong performance in the 7-match ODI series, both teams will be determined to get their houses in order with a view to the World Cup on the sub-continent.

Australia team: Michael Clarke (capt), Shane Watson, Brad Haddin, David Hussey, Cameron White, Mike Hussey, Steve Smith, Brett Lee, Xavier Doherty, Doug Bollinger, Shaun Tait. 12th: Mitchell Johnson.