Ballance ready for Johnson return

  • Last Updated: January 16 2014, 7:53 GMT

Gary Ballance believes England can ill-afford to focus solely on Mitchell Johnson's return for the second one-day international in Brisbane.

Gary Ballance
Gary Ballance

Johnson was rested for Australia's six-wicket win in the series opener in Melbourne after his 37 Ashes wickets made him the obvious man-of-the series candidate.

The 32-year-old is refreshed, and cleanly shaven, after a 10-day break and has vowed to resume his short-pitched assault at the Gabba on Friday.

Ballance is wary though of worrying too much about Johnson, after Australia's seam attack proved their quality at the MCG.

Clint McKay is Australia's reigning ODI player of the year while Nathan Coulter-Nile and James Pattinson are not far behind Johnson on the speed gun.

"They have a good bowling attack and we have to be ready to face all of them," Ballance said.

"We are going to work on it (Johnson's pace). He's had a good Test series but we are ready to face him and the rest of their bowlers."

Ballance was given a baptism of fire when he made his Test debut in the final match in Sydney, but he feels he is equipped to handle anything the left-armer fires at him.

"He bowls at a decent pace, but I felt like I could handle it all right," he said.

England's middle order will, however, face Johnson for the first time this winter.

Eoin Morgan, Ravi Bopara and Jos Buttler - the key to England's gameplan to accelerate in the late overs - were all not involved in the Ashes.

All three were part of the summer ODI series, when Johnson first served notice of his revival, and Ballance is sure they are ready for the battle.

"I think most of the guys have faced him, back home in the one-day series and then in the Test series," he said.

"Everyone will expect what's coming."

Ballance is one of England's form batsmen after he followed his 79 in Melbourne with another half-century in the morale-boosting 172-run win over a Prime Minister's XI in Canberra.

The left-hander is not yet a permanent fixture in England's line-up, but he is feeling more comfortable.

"Yeah, I feel good," he said.

"I've spent a bit of time in the middle, got a decent score in the first game and then to get another fifty was good.

"I've got a bit of confidence and now I need to take that into the next game.

"I feel a bit more comfortable. It helps getting a few decent scores.

"There are a lot of good players around so I have to keep working hard and try to make that place my own."

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