Nagpur:Even though chief selector Andrew Hilditch has ruled out Mitchell Johnson for the second ODI against India, Australia coach Tim Nielsen is hoping against hopes that the left-arm pacer would put behind his ankle injury and turn up for the match on Wednesday.
Hilditch had announced this morning that Johnson is one of the three injured players -- Brett Lee and James Hopes being the other two -- who would miss Wednesday's match with injuries.
Nielsen conceded Lee and Hopes would sit out on Wednesday but sounded optimistic about Johnson's chances.
Injury worries for Australia
"Brett is certainly out of tomorrow's game but Mitchell Johnson's woken up a lot better today morning than we thought he would be when we drafted the media release yesterday evening," said Nielsen.
"We will see how he pulls up through the training session today and all the indications are that he might well be available tomorrow morning," the Aussie coach said.
"At this stage, Mitchell is not completely out. Brett is probably out for one and we expect Hopes to probably miss the next two games. It is part and parcel of the game," Nielsen added.
The Australians are missing the services of key players Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin and Nathan Bracken through injuries and Nielsen said the latest injuries came as a fresh blow.
"It was a bit of a scatter-bomb yesterday. I mean I don't remember a team losing three bowlers in one day. It was an unusual circumstance," Nielsen said, adding the squad's death bowling looks a lot less experienced for Wedneday's tie.
"We certainly are inexperienced in that area. If Mitchell and Brett cannot play then we are losing about 300 matches in ODIs in terms of their experience. And we are talking about six or seven (games) between Ben Hilfenhaus and Doug Bollinger," he said.
But he added the injuries have given an opportunity for the younger players to learn from actually playing against the likes of Sachin Tendulkar.
"The only way the young players learn or get better is from being exposed to. You can practise all the yorkers in the net but it is so difficult to bowl to some one like Sachin or Harbhajan (Singh) when they are on a roll and the crowd going," he said.
"You know Doug Bollinger got five wickets against Pakistan, Hilfenhaus is learning about one-day cricket all the time and Shaun Marsh is waiting for a big opportunity. Nathan Hauritz is also getting better and better and Peter Siddle has now been given an opportunity to lead the attack. It helps develop depth in our team," he said about the positives his team can take from the injuries to key men.
Nielsen said the wicket looked good for batting but the dew factor would make an impact in the game, especially for the team bowling second.
"It looks like a good wicket. And if there is dew, they will spray the outfield, may be use the super-sopper as well during the drinks break. But yes, it will be a bit more difficult with dew around especially for spin bowlers who will find it hard to grip the ball.
"It will have an impact. For the team batting second, the difficulty in chasing will be reduced a bit with dew around so the team batting first needs to make a competitive total," he said.
About batting power plays and how to go about it, Nielsen said teams were still coming to terms with it as the bowlers have started doing better in these periods of play.
"Bowlers are bowling as lot better and batting teams are grappling when to take it and how to approach it. The decision when to take it becomes pretty important," he said.