Clarke welcomes Johnson speed, control

Australia

Captain Michael Clarke is looking forward to the pace and control fast bowler Mitchell Johnson will bring to Australia's bowling attack for the first Ashes Test, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

Captain Michael Clarke is looking forward to the pace and control fast bowler Mitchell Johnson will bring to Australia's bowling attack for the first Ashes Test, which will get underway in Brisbane on 21 November.

Johnson, who was overlooked for the five-Test series against England earlier this year, has been recalled on the back of some outstanding form at first-class and ODI level.

All-rounder James Faulkner, meanwhile, has been retained – and the uncapped George Bailey included. The veteran Shane Watson, too, has been chosen despite a hamstring injury.

"I think all bowlers have their strengths, and no doubt Mitch's speed is one of them," said Clarke. "But I think he has improved his control, he's bowling a lot more consistent at the moment.

"His pace is certainly high, which is a great start, but it doesn't matter how fast you bowl – if you don't know where they're going it's a lot easier to face as a batsman.

"But I think Mitch has that control, and he showed that in the ODI format. I said a couple of days ago that if Mitch was selected in this squad it wouldn't surprise me in a couple of months' time if you see Mitch being Man of the Series."

The talented Nathan Lyon is the only specialist slow bowler in the 12-man squad, with Pakistan-born leg-spinner Fawad Ahmed and the inexperienced Ashton Agar foregone.

Lyon, however, is not guaranteed a berth in the playing XI – as the fast, bouncy Gabba pitch is expected to all but demand an all-pace attack.

"Every spinner that plays for Australia is closely watched because of how great Shane Warne was," added Clarke. "But I think Nathan has been fantastic for us in international cricket, and I think he'll have a fantastic season.

"He is bowling pretty well for New South Wales. He would've liked a few more wickets but certainly the game at the MCG the other day didn't offer much for spin bowling at all.

"It's great to see him in the squad, and I'm confident if he gets an opportunity in the first Test he'll grab it with both hands."

Latest