Australia v England, 4th Test, Melbourne, 4th day December 29, 2013

Johnson defends sightscreen rant

ESPNcricinfo staff

Mitchell Johnson, a shoo-in for the Ashes man of the series, has defended the confrontational style that resulted in a prolonged outburst against Kevin Pietersen during the fourth Test at the MCG.

Johnson picked up his third man-of-the-match award in Australia's eight-wicket victory Sunday and, with one Test remaining, is already the first Australian bowler to take 30 wickets or more in a home Ashes series since Craig McDermott, the bowling coach who has supervised his revival, in 1994/95.

Johnson, who has 31 wickets in the series at 14.32, railed at Pietersen during Saturday's third day as more than once he pulled away from the crease with Johnson about to bowl because of movement in front of the sightscreen.

Johnson later found out that a child had been crawling across the sightscreen, but he was in no mood to apologise.

"I don't think I took it too far," he said as Australia moved within one match of a whitewash. "I was getting annoyed at what he was doing. He kept pulling away. I did find out later that there was a little kid crawling across the sightscreen, but if you look at the size of the sightscreen, they're pretty big here.

"If you're not watching the game and you're too busy watching the crowd, then I think it was warranted. I enjoy those little confrontations and there was no contact this time, which was good. We're both passionate people and we want to win."

Johnson said while he felt some England players were not scared of his hostile bowling there were others who were uneasy.

"I don't know if it's a scared thing, but maybe a bit uneasy at times on certain wickets throughout this series, definitely," he said. "Being a tailender myself, you never like going in there and facing short balls straight up. It can be intimidating."

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  • Sean on December 31, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    @scottstevo " It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field." haaaha When we won 3-0 (this year) it was YOU guys who whinged & whinged because you couldnt win, blaming the DRS. Now as a result we stupidly have 2 extra reviews for each team after 80 overs! I thought it was only meant for howlers.

  • Patrick on December 30, 2013, 22:17 GMT

    @jmcmcilhenney, a bit disingenuous to say Mitch went off assuming KP backed away for no reason, his gripe as stated in his interview is why is KP preoccupied crowd watching once the bowler has left his mark, it's gotten beyond a joke. These extended site screen areas cover a huge and mostly superfluous line of site IF watching the ball. The lack of any match referee comment means no case to answer and possibly implies some sympathy for what is an increasing problem with a few Eng batsmen that when viewed overall is increasingly apparent as blatantly unsporting behaviour. If it continues there will be 'running on the pitch' type warnings implemented as with many Eng tactics it's just poor for the game.

  • Scott on December 30, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Who cares what others think of Johnson! I love that the English try and jump on some perceived moral high ground whenever we're clobbering them. It's like their one and only glimmer of self respect! It's funny how that in 05 it was great for Eng to 'get up them,' yet it's ungentlemanly conduct when it's done to them. Same goes for India too. It's almost like when they can't beat us on the field, let's try and do something about it off the field. When our players are throwing sweets onto the pitch, or mocking players injuries, then I might start thinking that we're crossing the line. I'm glad Johnson told Pietersen where to go - somebody needed to anyway.

  • Neil on December 30, 2013, 12:55 GMT

    Just another example of Australian sportsmanship

  • John on December 30, 2013, 12:13 GMT

    @elvis57 on (December 29, 2013, 23:43 GMT), Johnson assumed that Pietersen had no justification for pulling away on that last occasion and he was wrong. What evidence do you have that he didn't have any justification on the other occasions? You have just as much evidence as Johnson had: none. You're just making an assumption that supports your bias. Even if KP was playing it up on the other occasions, there was justification on that particular occasion and Johnson isn't even prepared to admit that. If he had said that his reaction was wrong because KP was justified on that particular occasion then you might take him seriously but he's just going the deny, deny, deny route. What he did was wrong, plain and simple. His reaction can't be justified by any explanation. Even if KP was in the wrong, which there's no actual evidence to support, it's not for Johnson to take it into his own hands the way he did.

  • Graham on December 30, 2013, 9:48 GMT

    pcraju; Heard of the bou that cried wolf, Pieterson had done it numerous times. the data shows that in a full day in the field MJ covers around 24km. With I think it was 300 odd sprints, Pietersen had done it twice to him before and deserved a spray, it turns out this time there may be a legitimate reason but he needed to be told because of his past indiscretions. It takes a lot of effort to bowl at 150 k/hr so when a batsman continulally pulls away I think they should get a lot more than a verbal spray.

  • rob on December 30, 2013, 9:18 GMT

    @ Dark_Harlequin : Yes that's true, but I heard he wants to break free before another one bites the dust. Admittedly, he's been better since somebody found him someone to love. :)

  • Owen on December 30, 2013, 8:21 GMT

    Don't worry Freddie, i mean Mitch - you've finally broken free and been the killer queen throughout the series, put the english under pressure and now you are the champion. There's no stopping you now lad!

  • Chinnappa on December 30, 2013, 8:20 GMT

    Johnson is rude. He should have atleast accepted the mistake in the press conference if not directly to Pieterson. Since he came to know that a child was crossing why cant he accept that it was not right for him to throw the ball in frustration. He crosses the line to be a professional cricketer. KP did the samething to Siddle, did Siddle do the samething that MJ did? MJ has become arrongant now since he has started taking few wickets these days. When he doesn't get wicket, he tries to frustrate the batsmen with his sledging. He doesn't deserve the MOM in this match. It should have been Lyon or even Rogers.

  • Graham on December 30, 2013, 7:42 GMT

    sasnoz; Yes he crossed the line against Styris, with Benn he just gently pushed away a man who was very aggressive in his face. In my opinion he has crossed the line once but certainly not in this test series.

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