Johnson flies to Melbourne for Pura Cup match
Mitchell Johnson has made a last-minute trip to Melbourne to play in Queensland's Pura Cup match against Victoria after being named Australia's 12th man for the first Test at the Gabba. Johnson will get some valuable first-class bowling time in the four-day game starting at the MCG on Friday.
Queensland will be without Matthew Hayden and the now-injured Shane Watson, both of whom were members of Australia's original 13-man Test squad. Craig Philipson, who is coming off 73 from 74 balls in Queensland's Ford Ranger Cup game against Western Australia on Friday, has come in to the line-up.
Ashley Noffke and the fast bowler Chris Swan, who took five wickets in his Pura Cup debut last month, have also been included in the squad. Noffke has not played a Pura Cup game this season after hurting his back on the eve of the Bulls' first match against Tasmania.
The injury crisis in Victoria's fast-bowling stocks has been eased slightly with Shane Harwood to return from a side strain. Harwood has replaced Mick Lewis in the squad after Lewis injured his hip while bowling in Victoria's draw with Tasmania last week.
Harwood hurt his side in the Bushrangers' season-opening clash with Western Australia last month and joined his fellow fast bowlers Allan Wise, Dirk Nannes, Rob Cassell and Peter Siddle on the casualty list. Victoria have also brought in the uncapped left-hand batsman Robert Quiney to replace Shane Warne, who is in Brisbane with the Australia team.
The Victoria captain Cameron White said his team had moved on since their previous encounter with the Bulls, in last season's Pura Cup final when Queensland declared at 6 for 900 and won by an innings and 354 runs. Both teams have one win from their first three games in 2006-07. "This is a new season, a different ground and a fresh opportunity for us," White said. "Our batting has been going well and hopefully Shane's inclusion will give us more firepower given Mick was forced to sit out most of the Tassie game with injury."
Victoria Pura Cup squad Nick Jewell, Lloyd Mash, Brad Hodge, David Hussey, Robert Quiney, Cameron White (capt), Andrew McDonald, Jon Moss, Adam Crosthwaite (wk), Clinton McKay, Shane Harwood, Gerard Denton.
Queensland Pura Cup squad Jimmy Maher (capt), Lachlan Stevens, Martin Love, Clinton Perren, Andrew Symonds, Craig Philipson, James Hopes, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Mitchell Johnson, Daniel Doran, Ashley Noffke, Chris Swan.
Queensland FR Cup squad Jimmy Maher (capt), James Hopes, Clinton Perren, Andrew Symonds, Craig Philipson, Michael Buchanan, Chris Hartley (wk), Andy Bichel, Chris Simpson, Ashley Noffke, Scott Brant, Chris Swan.