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."