ANDREW STRAUSS is backing Steve Harmison to unleash his frustration on the remainder of the Ashes series - providing England have not lost faith already in their leading strike bowler.
The Durham fast bowler arrived in Australia as an integral part of England's plans to retain the Ashes, a spearhead capable of unsettling Australia's batsmen with his pace and bounce.
Just two Tests into the series, however, his place is far from secure after claiming one for 288 from 71.1 unproductive overs against Australia and he has been forced to try and correct technical faults with bowling coach Kevin Shine.
His fortunes did not improve during the tourists' drawn two-day match against Western Australia when he claimed one for 99 from 21 overs in a match where the other seamers - notably James Anderson and Sajid Mahmood - both impressed.
But Strauss, who was leading the side at the WACA in the absence of resting captain Andrew Flintoff, is confident Harmison can bounce back from his early tour slump and still become a force in the series.
"I think he's coming right," said Strauss. "He's not having a lot of luck at the moment and had a few occasions this game when it was outrageous bad luck that he wasn't taking wickets.
"He bowled better at Adelaide and I think he bowled pretty well here. We're just hoping he continues on that process and that his luck changes: sometimes you just need one or two wickets and then everything falls into place."
Strauss admitted: "He's been hurting a bit because I think he felt he had a big contribution to make in this series and it hasn't worked out that way so far.
"I've never seen Harmy put as much time and effort into his net practices as he has done in the last couple of weeks and I think it's going to bear fruit for him.
"He just needs to remain patient and things will happen - you don't go from being a world-class bowler to nothing overnight."
As a member of England's management committee alongside Flintoff, coach Duncan Fletcher and wicketkeeper Geraint Jones, Strauss (right) also perhaps betrayed their thinking by saying: "Harmy has all the attributes there to bowl very, very well in Australia.
"Last week, I wouldn't say was a typical Australian wicket, but the wickets coming up may have a little bit more pace and bounce in them and, if they do, there are not many bowlers in the world you'd want to face less than Steve Harmison."
England made the most of a two-day work-out, hitting 356-4 in reply to 322-8 declared with all the bowlers showing welcome signs of form.