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Former England seamer Steve Harmison believes that Australia’s pace duo of Mitchell Johnson and Mitchell Starc will not be able to work together and form a cohesive bowling unit during the Ashes.
However, both Johnson and Starc were in red-hot form during the recently concluded two-Test series against the West Indies as they took 11 wickets between them in the first Test in Dominica. Starc ended up claiming 10 wickets at an average of 16, while Johnson got eight wickets at an average of 18.62.
However, Harmison feels that Johnson will be under more pressure than Starc as he has not been at his best when bowling in England.
“I don’t think he (Johnson) has proven as effective in England,” Harmison told Sky Sports. “I don’t think he’s bowled as well as he would like to in England, or should I say he hasn’t come into the series bowling as well as he would like to in England.
“He bowled very well in the Caribbean, he was right on top of his game there, but so is Mitchell Starc. I’m not sure they both fit into the same team. I think Mitchell Johnson is the bigger threat when it comes to England’s batting line-up.”
Harmison also expects Johnson and Starc to be rotated throughout the series as they excel in different conditions and situations.
“When it comes to the short ball and pace, I don’t think Mitchell Starc is as devastatingly hostile as Johnson,” he said. “I don’t think Mitchell Johnson can bowl the sort of ball back into the right-hander as well as Starc can. They both have different qualities, not one is better than the other.
“It just depends you could get into a situation like Trent Bridge where you think it might swing. If there is a decision to make between the two then you would probably plump for Mitchell Starc.
“Whereas somewhere else if the wicket has got a little bit in it or if you feel as though it’s little bit flatter and you need a bit of firepower or something to hit the deck you’d plump for Mitchell Johnson.
“I think he gets a bit of ridicule from England supporters but when he is fit and firing that angle that he has got and because he is skinny and the trajectory he gets, it is very difficult to get out of the way of his short ball.”