New Zealand v Australia, 2nd ODI, Auckland March 7, 2010

Crowd antics spur on Johnson

Cricinfo staff

Ricky Ponting was impressed with the way Mitchell Johnson dealt with a hostile crowd to help Australia level the series in Auckland. Johnson became a target in New Zealand after his headbutt of Scott Styris in the opening game on Wednesday and he stepped up with 4 for 51 in Saturday's 12-run victory.

Johnson had two security guards escort him off the ground when he batted and the crowd booed him when he prepared to bowl. He kissed his Australian badge and looked to the stands before he ran in.

''If his by-play with the crowd affected the way he played I'd be worried, but it spurred him on, if anything,'' Ponting said after the game. ''Sometimes you've just got to try to have a bit of fun with the crowd. As much as they're giving it to you, you're the worst person in the world to them, but you've got to try to have fun with it otherwise it's going to be a long four or five weeks over here."

New Zealand were chasing 266 in 45 overs but Johnson made it difficult with the dismissals of Brendon McCullum and James Franklin before returning for Daryl Tuffey and Shane Bond. ''There were chants going around the ground but Mitch came back with wickets for us," Ponting said. "That was a good result for him and the team.''

Johnson had started by delivering a high bouncer to Styris, who was fined 15% of his match fee compared to the bowler's 60%, and the ball went for five wides. ''We might have talked about it being a bouncer, mightn't we? I'm not that unhappy if he bowls a bouncer when I've told him to," Ponting said.

''He was trying to make a statement and that's fine. He had a very good game of cricket for us. He was probably the difference. It wasn't a great performance by us by any stretch of the imagination, but we did enough to win.'' The third match of the five-game series is in Hamilton on Tuesday.

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Jason on March 11, 2010, 1:12 GMT

    Johnson did not headbut Styris! Idiots! Watch the goddam footage.

  • Jon on March 10, 2010, 2:14 GMT

    It seems that what ever Australia does no one from every where else in the world likes it. Johnson might of steped over the mark but there is no need to have a cry about it, you are men. The main reason why you little boys have a cry is that you dont compare to the Australian team. Its good when we play India and Pakistan because the dont winge. But New Zealand and the English do all the time. Play the game, enjoy it and stop having a cry about things which should not affect this great game

  • andrew on March 9, 2010, 6:27 GMT

    Fascinating to see a comment from Sir Freddie Flintoff attacking Mitchell Johnson in the basest possible way. Ironic that during the Ashes the crowd chanted their usual 'Super Fred', and then tried to put Mitch down by chanting 'Super Mitch', and making their sarcasm clear. Johnson ended up blowing Flintoff away in that series, even though well below his best. He averaged 32 to Flintoff's 52. Poor sods still think they've got a chance of winning in Australia. Hope you enjoy watching Johnson smash your top order pal. Look and learn.

  • stuart on March 9, 2010, 5:03 GMT

    Well neutral fan it is probably just as well that the Aussies don't mind being not liked because most of the rest of the cricketing world considers them arrogant boorish and totally unlikable. When will they learn that "playing the game hard" does not mean being insulting, boorish and conducting themselves in a way that does them and the game no credit whatsoever. Like the true bullies they are whenever any one stands up to them they revert to trying to physically intimidate the opposition, then they play the "we were only playing it hard" trick. I would suggest that Cricket Australia takes a really good look at the behaviour of its players and acts accordingly. However, I won't hold my breath!!!

  • Carol on March 9, 2010, 3:55 GMT

    What a bunch of wimps!

    Real agro was Lillee and Hadley trying to kill each other and both country's crowds egging them on......that was FUN!

  • Nathan on March 8, 2010, 23:46 GMT

    @Sir_Freddie_Flintoff, yup ... 'Mitchell Johnson is a poor bowler'. He really is. One of only four or five players in the ENTIRE history of the game to take 50 wickets and score 500 runs in a year, bowled Australia to a test series victory in South Africa, International Test Bowler of the year etc etc. I can't understand how he gets picked even at state level. Seriously, forming an opinion of a player as a whole based on a few poor Ashes Tests is really ignorant.

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2010, 23:15 GMT

    The Johnson-Styris matchup is awesome. I think the game needs more of it. Football is so popular around the world because you always get players standing their ground, talking the talk and walking the walk. Cricket without sledging is boring and it stopped being a gentleman's game back in 1949... grow up the rest of you. Even the ladies play the sport with more passion and aggression.

    The Johnson-Styris incident has, if anything, got more people interested in the game in New Zealand and Australia.

    Those wanting Australia or any team, for that matter, to be punished for taking the game to the other team should go watch table tennis or darts.

  • Neil on March 8, 2010, 21:21 GMT

    I would love to see they ban an Austrailian player because they get away to easy, however apparently in todays' cricketing world ICC is afraid to upset Cricket Austrailia. The West Indies player Sulimen Benn was given a two match ban for bumping shoulders in Austrailia. ICC you need to look at yourself in shame. FAIR PLAY is FAIR PLAY!!!

  • Dummy4 on March 8, 2010, 19:08 GMT

    A decent mea culpa always helps.

  • sunny on March 8, 2010, 10:25 GMT

    @simon wood:mate stop having the notion tht whatever ur guys do are within the rule.or it becomes the rule in itself.......n whatever our guys do is against the spirit of the game.just ponder n u will realise tht i m not totally wrong in saying this.

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