Johnson ready to bowl faster
First it was Brian Lara and Sachin Tendulkar in Malaysia. Then it was Kevin Pietersen and figures of 3 for 40 in a fine performance against England on Saturday. Now Mitchell Johnson has re-set his sights on bowling at 150kph as his promising international career develops quickly.
Talk of Johnson gaining the third fast-bowling spot for the first Ashes Test has gained more momentum after he surprised Pietersen with his pace and then out-thought him during the six-wicket win at Jaipur. Johnson's figures in his eighth ODI backed up his 4 for 11 in Malaysia last month and he said he was growing in confidence with every match.
As Australia prepared to leave for Mohali, where they will play India on Saturday and aim for a spot in the Champions Trophy semi-finals, Johnson also spoke about his plan for Pietersen, which involved a short ball that struck the bat handle followed by a full one angled across the batsman.
"That one probably zipped through a bit more," he told AAP. "My plan to him was to get a short one in early and then try to get that nick early. From the footage that I've seen, he likes to get forward early. Maybe Andrew Flintoff as well. Shane Watson got him out trying to play the pull shot and got him on the forearm as well, trying to get forward. Maybe that's a pretty good option with those guys."
Despite his attractive start, Johnson is still desperate to improve his pace and the amount of movement he gets. "It would be great to be able to bowl faster and swing the ball," he said. "If you are bowling 140-plus and swinging the ball, it's going to be hard to face.
"That's something that I'm working on and to be consistent with. I want to try to get around that 150. I'm always trying to bowl quick."
While an Ashes Test is an attractive option, Johnson, who is jostling with Stuart Clark and Shaun Tait for a place in the squad for Brisbane, is trying not to think about it. "It's hard because a lot of people are talking," he said. "You know, family and friends saying `has the side been picked for the Ashes?'"