Love to see Johnson bowl bouncer first ball, says Ponting

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Melbourne, Dec 8: Former Australia captain Ricky Ponting believes Australia must continue with the aggressive brand of cricket that proved such a successful formula on home soil against England last summer, despite the tragic loss of Phillip Hughes after he was struck by a short delivery.

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"(Would) love to see Mitchell Johnson run in and bowl a bouncer first ball of the Test match," Cricket.com.au quoted Ponting. (Kohli to captain in 1st Test)

File photo: Mitchell Johnson

"I don't want to see anyone get hurt," he wrote, "but the bouncer's part of the fabric of the game, and if they're not playing in the aggressive way they did last summer then they're not actually playing in what I believe is the spirit of Test match cricket."

Johnson captured 37 wickets in five Ashes Tests last summer and spearheaded an ultra-aggressive policy from the Australians, much of which was based around a hostile length from the pacemen.

It was a ruthlessly efficient policy, and one that Ponting insists Darren Lehmann's side would be foolish to stray from.

"If I was batting against them (Johnson and co in the nets) I'd want to be bounced, because you're going to get that in the Test," the former skipper wrote.

"Australia can't lose sight of the fact that last summer they established a brand of cricket that will be very hard to beat at home.

"What Michael Clarke, Darren Lehmann and the players put together against England stands as a real blueprint for how they want to play their Test cricket, especially in home conditions.

"They forged an identity for themselves as a team and the way they wanted to go about playing their cricket. It's important they build on that and continue to play the hard-nosed, aggressive Australian way," wrote Ponting, who played a record 168 Tests for Australia.

IANS

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