Australian skipper Ricky Ponting confirmed that his struggling fast bowler, Mitchell Johnson, had been dropped the team to face England in the second Ashes test at Adelaide, on Friday.

Johnson, who is Australia's leading wicket-taker currently playing, with 166 in 39 Tests, has been dropped after his abysmal display in the first test where he returned poor figures of 0-170.

Doug Bollinger or Ryan Harris is likely to replace the pacer. Another possibility is that Harris could replace Ben Hilfenhaus while Bollinger takes Johnson's place.

Ponting said: We're not worried about Ryan's (Harris) knee at all. If we had any worries he wouldn't be with us. Ryan's strengths are that he has played much of his cricket here (Adelaide), he's probably slightly quicker in the air, he hits the wicket harder than Ben does and probably he's the better reverse swing bowler for later in the game.

Hilfy's (Hilfenhaus) strengths are his ability to swing the new ball, he's a very consistent bowler and bowls in good areas to tie batters down. Ben did a terrific job for us in India in conditions that will probably be similar to what the wicket will be like here, particularly over the last couple of days. It makes that decision a pretty difficult one, which is why we need a fair bit of time to think about it.

Johnson admitted he was disappointed at being dropped but he would work on his game and get back in the team. He said, I was a little out of form in the last Test, so there's a bit of work for me to do. It's obviously disappointing but it's not the end of the world. We still have a lot of Tests to go in this series and I'm going to be working my way back into this team and hopefully play a big part.

Johnson was the ICC Cricketer of the Year barely a year ago and has been the main weapon in Australia's pace attack for the most part of the last three years. Ponting made it clear that the door was not closed on Johnson.

He said, The selectors felt Mitch was down on a bit of form and down on rhythm - that was probably highlighted in the last game. The game of Test match cricket is hard enough as it is without having to try to find those things in the middle of a Test match.

With a short turnaround as well he now has a bit of time before the [third] Perth Test match to hopefully rediscover some of that rhythm.

England will name their side on Friday morning. Strauss in his press-conference gave his view on Johnson's omission. He said: Mitchell has been spearheading their side for a number of years, so it's quite a big call to leave him out. But we have to be ready for whoever might take his place and make sure we have plans to place to counteract them. It's not like they're dragging someone from obscurity.

The theme of our preparation has been to keep our feet on the ground and realise we haven't achieved anything yet - it's 0-0 in this series, and if we do want to achieve something we have to steel ourselves for another five tough days.

The second Ashes test will begin at 0000 GMT on December 3rd, Friday, at Adelaide.