No holding back for Mitchell Johnson
Australian fast bowler says England and their truce-seeking coach Andy Flower are ‘rattled’ after their 381-run hammering in Perth.
PT2M42S http://www.smh.com.au/action/externalEmbeddedPlayer?id=d-2yazl 620 349 November 28, 2013
Mitchell Johnson’s blistering start to the Ashes summer had its foundations in the Indian Premier League back in April, according to Ricky Ponting, a teammate of the fast bowler at the champion Mumbai Indians.
The now retired former Test captain was in the squad alongside Johnson that won the IPL title in May, although the veteran did not feature in the latter stages of the tournament or the final.
His absence, however, did not stop Ponting witnessing the beginning of Johnson’s revival, which has borne fruit for Australia with a man-of-the-match performance in its first Test hammering of England at the Gabba.
Mitchell Johnson with his man of the match award. Photo: Getty Images
”Some of the opening spells he sent down were remarkable,” Ponting wrote in his column for Britain’s Daily Mail. ”He looked like a different bowler to the one who has occasionally struggled in Ashes contests in the past. Right now he’s got a couple of the England guys exactly where he wants them.”
Ruled out of the previous year’s IPL with the big toe injury that put him on ice for Australia, Johnson did not simply use the IPL to fill his pockets, but as the playground to reignite his career. He was fourth on the wicket-takers’ list there with 24 in 17 games, before returning later in the year to star in Australia’s limited-overs series against India that preceded the Ashes.
And while Johnson caused havoc among England’s batsmen with the short ball at the Gabba, teammates believe he is even more effective on flatter wickets.
The 32-year-old may have to adjust his plans when the Test series resumes on the new drop-in pitch in Adelaide next week. Reverse swing is likely to be central to trying to undo Kevin Pietersen and company if there is not the bounce there to assist him, but Ponting thinks Johnson can be just as effective at Adelaide Oval.
”The drop-in pitch at Adelaide won’t have the pace and bounce that we saw in Brisbane … and can expect for the third Test in Perth,” Ponting said. ”But sometimes, those surfaces can be harder to play the short ball on, because the bounce isn’t quite so predictable.”
Johnson goes to Adelaide on the verge of breaking into Australia’s top 10 wicket-takers of all time. He is 11th on the list with 214 in 52 matches and is closing on pre-war leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett, who collected 216 wickets in 37 games.