Australia in South Africa 2013-14 February 11, 2014

McDermott rates Johnson No. 1

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Over a pair of startlingly fruitful stints as Australia's pace-bowling coach, Craig McDermott has learned to trust in a handful of simple tenets. Chief among these are the passing on of rich encouragement to his pupils, leavened by simple, digestible and repeatable pieces of advice.

These fundamentals were clearly in evidence as McDermott weighed up Australia's bowling resources on the eve of the first Test against South Africa at Centurion. He balanced high praise for Mitchell Johnson - currently the world's No. 1 fast bowler by his estimation - with a pointed directive about how the tourists must bowl to Graeme Smith's side in the series beginning on Wednesday.

As hard as it may be to believe, given his harvest of 37 Ashes wickets over five Tests during the home summer, McDermott believes Johnson is capable of even better in South Africa, and offered up his bowling in Australia's warm-ups so far as evidence. Not only has Johnson been swift as ever, but he has also found the swing that also aided him in 2009.

"At Wanderers the other day he bowled a little bit better than he did in Australia, particularly with the late swing he's getting here," McDermott said. "The ball he bowled to Chris Rogers [on the Saturday] was something I've very rarely seen in my 35 years of cricket. It was going towards leg stump and knocked out his off stump. It swung unbelievably late.

"He bowled a number of balls like that the other day and. That's good for us. It becomes difficult for right handers who want to leave the ball and left handers who think they're going to just clip it off their pads.

"I think he probably is the best fast bowler in the world at the moment. He knows his game very well, and his accuracy is brilliant at the minute, it has been all summer. And he really understands where his wrist position is, with his alignment though the crease, he really believes himself so he's the full package. On top of that, he's a great bloke."

Johnson has re-grown his moustache in time for the series, again taking on the mantle of shock bowler and all the posturing that entails. He will again be able to charge in at his very fastest, for McDermott and the captain Michael Clarke are committed to using him in shattering bursts rather than taking advantage of a formidably strong frame that can allow him to bowl far longer spells at the cost of a few kilometres of speed.

"If you've got someone bowling 150 that's his best use," McDermott said. "He's got a real wow factor to his bowling from a pace point of view now and he bowled beautifully during the Australian summer. That's always been the plan with Mitchell. We wanted to use him as our shock bowler. When you've got someone like that you don't want him to bowl seven or eight over spells.

"You've got other blokes who are more drilled towards that. When you've got someone bowling 150 you didn't see Malcolm Marshall and those sort of blokes bowling eight or nine over spells. You want to make sure he's your shock bowler but he's fit enough, if he's on a roll, to bowl seven or eight over spells, so we've got the best of both worlds if it is required."

Taking a more general view of the series, McDermott acknowledged the fact his message is now no mystery to anyone. His insistence on a fuller length spiced with the odd bouncer has been the other constant of his coaching, but in South Africa's potentially lively strips it will be more relevant advice than ever. Some members of the squad have taken to McDermott's directives more swiftly than others, and it is no exaggeration to say that the most eager students will be those who find themselves taking the field at Centurion.

"We're going to have to get our lengths right. We're going to have to be very full," McDermott said. "It sounds like an old repeated saying of mine every time we start a new series about bowling full but it's going to be really important to be very full here. We've got to get that right from ball one.

"I think the wicket will have some carry in it and we'll have to bowl like we did in Australia. We'll have to bowl very full and mix that up with some short-pitched bowling, with some aggressive bowling as well. The wicket's going to be pretty Gabba-like I would have thought by the looks of it.

"We've got to get it right [if we bowl first]. We bowled first in Melbourne and we didn't quite get it right in that first hour. We had an unbelievable Ashes series with the ball. We probably only bowled average for five or six hours out of the whole Ashes series. We have to make sure we get that down to one or two hours in this series and we'll come up trumps."

Daniel Brettig is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. He tweets here

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • badyon on February 12, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    "Johnson has re-grown his moustache"

    good game saffas

  • ooper_cut on February 12, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    Australia is seriously down on their batting, only Clarke is classy and warner can be a lottery, all else are nowhere near Amla, Peterson, Smith, AB etc.

  • Andre117 on February 12, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    " smith has always been average"

    After that rubbish one can pretty much ignore everything you said. 250+ scores in the first 2 tests of a series is "average"? Over 9,000 runs at an avg of 50 and strikerate of 60 is average?

    On paper we're a better team than Oz. The only thing Aus has going for them is the result of their last series and their usual "mental disintegration" tactics using the media which worked against England.

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    Greatest_Game; Your missing one thing - McDermott said "at the moment" so no point even bringing out career stats he is talking the now and his recent stats are impressive. I agree Steyn is the best but don't see McDermott's comments considering his position to be insulting or outlandish.

  • Greatest_Game on February 12, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    @ Mitty2 wrote " And I dare say it but you'd struggle to find any modern day seamer apart from maybe Steyn who could prosper on those dreadful excuses for cricket pitches (in India.)"

    Mitty, I have to hand it to you.you are always one of the smartest commenters hare. Hold on, let me rephrase that. You are unusual - an Aussie with a brain and a memory ;)) Considering Dale's average of 20.23 in India, you saved yourself a barrage by including him in that sentence!

    Looking forward to reading what you have to say as the series progresses. If miserable Mitch turns up even you won't .be able to defend McDermott! I truly hope that we are in for a cracker of a series, and the Aussies don't just fold. I've said it before - forget Mitch, Rhino is going to be the key Aussie bowler. He will the wicket taker on SA pitches. Wish it was 5 tests though

    Good luck. May the best Saffas win - he he he

  • Thegimp on February 12, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    a lot of people here counting chickens........Like I said, statistics are the fruit of fools, it doesn't matter what a person's career stats are or their ICC ranking, it matters how they bowl on the day. Steyn is consistantly good, Mitch is devastating when he gets it right, Steyn is Lillee to Mitch's Thomo. Harris is every bit as good as Philander and had he been fit he would have the stats to match.

    This series is coming down to the toss on the first day, maybe Australian bats will falter, mind you they have been faltering for some time, even recently against England, so maybe they are used to that kind of pressure. The big question is, are SA batsmen used to that kind of pressure?

  • AH_USA on February 12, 2014, 2:52 GMT

    One thing is for sure, Aussies will not be able to sledge SA cricketers to get under their skin the way they did against ENG. This is a whole different ball game for Aussies. It is going to be a cracker of a series, that is for sure. Best wishes from a Pakistani fan.

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    @pjd_howzat what a ridiculous claim. You cannot attribute bradman's accomplishment to the pitches, the conditions or anything like that because if any of that were true there'd be a myriad of batsmen from that era averaging near 100. But the fact is none of them were anywhere near him, and none since have ever gotten near him.

    Also who is your third bowler you claim to be better than Johnson? Morkel is mediocre at best, good limited overs but toothless in tests. Philander and Steyn sure but no way is Morkel better than MJ.

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2014, 2:06 GMT

    Guys read the article. He said number 1 in the world right now. Not number 1 of all time. He is entitled to his opinion as are you.

    Johnson's ashes was easily one of the best bowling performances by any bowler in recent time. It's not unreal to have people rate him as a the best bowler in the world. You can disagree (personally i still think Harris is better than MJ let alone Steyn and Philander) but it's not as if it's completely unwarranted

  • andrew-schulz on February 12, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Thruthecovers, there are a few things you need to understand. One concerns the player rankings. Before the Ashes, Mitch Johnson had missed 21 of Australia's previous 26 Tests. His ranking points drop by one percent for every Test he misses. To be at number 9 so quickly after that is extraordinary. Anybody who watched Aus v eng, SA v India, Aus v SA a year ago, Pak v SA in UAE would have to say Johnson has scaled heights none of the others can dream of. Form is a fragile thing with bowlers. Btw, if Johnson is number nine on these take-with-a-grain-of-salt rankings, that would mean Philander and seven others are ahead of him, not eight.

  • badyon on February 12, 2014, 8:15 GMT

    "Johnson has re-grown his moustache"

    good game saffas

  • ooper_cut on February 12, 2014, 7:34 GMT

    Australia is seriously down on their batting, only Clarke is classy and warner can be a lottery, all else are nowhere near Amla, Peterson, Smith, AB etc.

  • Andre117 on February 12, 2014, 7:19 GMT

    " smith has always been average"

    After that rubbish one can pretty much ignore everything you said. 250+ scores in the first 2 tests of a series is "average"? Over 9,000 runs at an avg of 50 and strikerate of 60 is average?

    On paper we're a better team than Oz. The only thing Aus has going for them is the result of their last series and their usual "mental disintegration" tactics using the media which worked against England.

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2014, 5:50 GMT

    Greatest_Game; Your missing one thing - McDermott said "at the moment" so no point even bringing out career stats he is talking the now and his recent stats are impressive. I agree Steyn is the best but don't see McDermott's comments considering his position to be insulting or outlandish.

  • Greatest_Game on February 12, 2014, 4:03 GMT

    @ Mitty2 wrote " And I dare say it but you'd struggle to find any modern day seamer apart from maybe Steyn who could prosper on those dreadful excuses for cricket pitches (in India.)"

    Mitty, I have to hand it to you.you are always one of the smartest commenters hare. Hold on, let me rephrase that. You are unusual - an Aussie with a brain and a memory ;)) Considering Dale's average of 20.23 in India, you saved yourself a barrage by including him in that sentence!

    Looking forward to reading what you have to say as the series progresses. If miserable Mitch turns up even you won't .be able to defend McDermott! I truly hope that we are in for a cracker of a series, and the Aussies don't just fold. I've said it before - forget Mitch, Rhino is going to be the key Aussie bowler. He will the wicket taker on SA pitches. Wish it was 5 tests though

    Good luck. May the best Saffas win - he he he

  • Thegimp on February 12, 2014, 3:53 GMT

    a lot of people here counting chickens........Like I said, statistics are the fruit of fools, it doesn't matter what a person's career stats are or their ICC ranking, it matters how they bowl on the day. Steyn is consistantly good, Mitch is devastating when he gets it right, Steyn is Lillee to Mitch's Thomo. Harris is every bit as good as Philander and had he been fit he would have the stats to match.

    This series is coming down to the toss on the first day, maybe Australian bats will falter, mind you they have been faltering for some time, even recently against England, so maybe they are used to that kind of pressure. The big question is, are SA batsmen used to that kind of pressure?

  • AH_USA on February 12, 2014, 2:52 GMT

    One thing is for sure, Aussies will not be able to sledge SA cricketers to get under their skin the way they did against ENG. This is a whole different ball game for Aussies. It is going to be a cracker of a series, that is for sure. Best wishes from a Pakistani fan.

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2014, 2:19 GMT

    @pjd_howzat what a ridiculous claim. You cannot attribute bradman's accomplishment to the pitches, the conditions or anything like that because if any of that were true there'd be a myriad of batsmen from that era averaging near 100. But the fact is none of them were anywhere near him, and none since have ever gotten near him.

    Also who is your third bowler you claim to be better than Johnson? Morkel is mediocre at best, good limited overs but toothless in tests. Philander and Steyn sure but no way is Morkel better than MJ.

  • wellrounded87 on February 12, 2014, 2:06 GMT

    Guys read the article. He said number 1 in the world right now. Not number 1 of all time. He is entitled to his opinion as are you.

    Johnson's ashes was easily one of the best bowling performances by any bowler in recent time. It's not unreal to have people rate him as a the best bowler in the world. You can disagree (personally i still think Harris is better than MJ let alone Steyn and Philander) but it's not as if it's completely unwarranted

  • andrew-schulz on February 12, 2014, 1:59 GMT

    Thruthecovers, there are a few things you need to understand. One concerns the player rankings. Before the Ashes, Mitch Johnson had missed 21 of Australia's previous 26 Tests. His ranking points drop by one percent for every Test he misses. To be at number 9 so quickly after that is extraordinary. Anybody who watched Aus v eng, SA v India, Aus v SA a year ago, Pak v SA in UAE would have to say Johnson has scaled heights none of the others can dream of. Form is a fragile thing with bowlers. Btw, if Johnson is number nine on these take-with-a-grain-of-salt rankings, that would mean Philander and seven others are ahead of him, not eight.

  • CurrentPresident on February 12, 2014, 1:50 GMT

    How good a bowler is relative to the strength of the opposing batsmen. On that account, Johnson has a much tougher opposition in the form of Smith, Amla, deVillers and duPlessis.

    Between them Steyn and Philander are quite capable of running through Australia. Haddin will not be able to save them in every innings again.

  • cricket_ahan on February 12, 2014, 0:52 GMT

    @thruthecovers - couldn't agree more. I would say though that the Australian camp have a habit of stirring the pot before a series, so don't know if this is just a strategy by McDermott to play with the mental state of the South African batsmen. Having said that, I wouldn't want to be the one to make the likes of Steyn and Philander angry (both men are capable of a lot of it!). Good luck to the Australian batsmen - they will definately have their hands full .

  • C.Gull on February 12, 2014, 0:26 GMT

    Settle, petals. This will all be determined on the field starting today.

  • Shaggy076 on February 12, 2014, 0:06 GMT

    NixNixon; One thing Johnson lost his head and played with injuries for a while. He took a break, had surgery but ever since there has been no evidence of the inconsistent Mitch. Yes Steyn deserves to be ranked higher as does Philander, but really look who is making the quote it is Johnson coach who sees him day in day out and probably honestly believes that. Not sure why you are taking so much weight from this comment when you consider where it came from. Harris - injury prone must be recorded he has now played 9 tests straight. Then "I don't rate Siddle" - Fair enough but your having a crack at McDermott labelling JOhnson #1 because his record doesn't compare to Steyn's well Siddles record is better than Morkels so I guess you don't rate Morkel either.

  • Shaggy076 on February 11, 2014, 23:55 GMT

    sergio11; "a weak and mentally down ENG" Im getting a little sick of this comment. They were not weak and mentally down before Johnson bowled to them in the Gabba. In fact at that point Trott, Pietersen and COok all averaged over 50. Root and Bell high 40's and Prior low 40's. That is not a weak batting line up. 37 wickets at 14 against that batting line up is exceptional, I agree Steyn has been better for longer and right now we don't even know if Johnson standard in that series matches Steyn's standard. But Credit where credit is due 37 wickets at 14 against a well credentialed batting line-up is exceptional.

  • Shaggy076 on February 11, 2014, 23:51 GMT

    sergio11; I guess if he was a complete bowler he would do better than 37 wickets at 14 now that's scary.

  • on February 11, 2014, 23:36 GMT

    MJ has more tattoos than DS, so he must be better....

  • Greatest_Game on February 11, 2014, 23:05 GMT

    Look guys, we have to accept reality. Johnson is clearly the world's #1 bowler in Australia, in an Ashes test series, bowling against a worn out & depleted bunch of poms who are either being booted out, suffering stress related illnesses, retiring mid series, having the worst series of their young captaincy, so incapable of batting that they are dropped … as a keeper, brand new, even newer, so new that no-one knows their names, bat in a new position every test, including at 12th man, making their debuts, are actually the team chef who got shoved out into the middle in desperation, or are a passing Saffa whom was immediately drafted & given a passport when they heard his accent.

    Under all other circumstances, he is bog average - with a career ave of 28.33, SR 51.5, & right up there with Stuart Broad, Jimmy Anderson, & Steve "I used to have an action but the ECB stole it "Finn." Not the world's most exciting bowlers. He is not a Harris, Steyn or Philander. He is not elite. Period!

  • Chris_Howard on February 11, 2014, 23:02 GMT

    lol - so Mitch one to swing late from leg to take out off? Steyn does that at will, but more. Steyn makes them swing one way and then cut the other, making them near unplayable.

    Mitch has one good series against a mentally screwed team, and he's suddenly the best in the world? Pfft!

    As an Aussie, I wish the Aussies would shut up and stop their bragging and arrogance. It's just inspiration for the best bowling attack in the world to one-up them where it counts. And the best batting list in the world to put them back in their box.

    An Aussie team that has been 5 for not much most first innings over the last year, is not going to threaten the Saffers bowlers. And Haddin can't keep saving us forever.

    We must remember too, Smith and co train against Steyn and co. So they're never going to face any bowlers better than Steyn or Philander.

    Sure the Aussie bats train against a formidable bowling lineup too, but it's not showing in their first innings

    Brag if the job is done, Craig.

  • on February 11, 2014, 22:48 GMT

    @stephen, there are no good openers, or really many good bats atm. That doesnt mean that smith is an excellent player or anything though, he will fail. Well it is much harder for me to take a loss than south africans cause weve actually won things before of note, however i wont just 'dissapear'.

  • Greatest_Game on February 11, 2014, 22:30 GMT

    Mitchell Johnson. 56 tests. 107 inngs bowled. 6858 runs conceded, 242 wickets taken. Average 28.33. Econ 3.29. SR 51.5.

    Those are not opinions, but simply statistics, the impassionate record of his career, & they dont lie. They are also, clearly, not the stats of the world's best bowler. The rankings published by the ICC would heartily agree.

    McDermott, like all persons, is welcome to his opinions, but they are just simply opinions. An old truism is that opinions are like our bodily functions; we all have them, & unfortunately most stink. McDermott seems to have done his best to confirm this. His best bowler is not even Johnson - it is Harris, & his claim that Johnson is superior to Harris is not only misinformed, but demeans Harris, who rarely gets his due from the Aussies.

    If I were in the Aus camp I would be worried that McDermot's big mouth affects the performance those he is entrusted to coach - the bowlers he disrespects with his wildly inaccurate statements.

  • Rooboy on February 11, 2014, 22:28 GMT

    @pjd_howzat - you point out some facts to argue Bradman wasn't the best ever. But the simple point that you and others of your ilk overlook is that everyone of that era played under those conditions. And only one ever came close to averaging 99. His record is so far ahead, despite whatever circumstances you point out to detract from it, that you'd have to be pretty small minded not to understand he IS the greatest ever

  • ShutTheGate on February 11, 2014, 22:27 GMT

    Everyone relax!

    Craig said "I think he probably is the best fast bowler in the world at the moment."

    He didn't say that he's been the number 1 in the world for some time or that he's a better bowler over all than anyone else. He's commenting on the current form of international bowlers.

  • RoyRulez on February 11, 2014, 21:15 GMT

    This is a hilarious article!!! First he says Mitchell is the No. 1 bowler at present... This means a guy who has had one good series is better than a bowler who has ripped apart opposition batting for the last 5 years!!! Then he goes one better... he compares MJ to Malcom Marshal!!!

    We got your point McDermott, Mitchell is the best bowler ever... Or would you start bringing Warne and Murali into the comparison as well!!!

  • CodandChips on February 11, 2014, 20:37 GMT

    His team mate RYAN HARRIS might feel hard done by

  • Darren68 on February 11, 2014, 20:30 GMT

    Hey Sergio did you see Johnson bowl in Adelaide. A flat drop in pitch. Johnson was unplayable due to his pace and late movement. Just ask Cook who was clean bowled for the first time since U10s - beaten by pace and late movement.

  • vik56in on February 11, 2014, 20:14 GMT

    Is Mitchell better than Steyn ? No ,I don't think so ! Mitch has his moments now and then but to do it like Steyn for a considerably long time time is an entiry another thing ! Steyn can do everything that Mitch does and perhaps even more .

  • on February 11, 2014, 18:04 GMT

    @Frazer Hockley, a opening batsman averaging 50 who bats mostly on tricky South African wickets for openers. Please name the better openers who are currently playing. I will bookmark this page and await your appearance if South Africa win the series. I think though you will dissapear.

  • ImtiazA on February 11, 2014, 17:20 GMT

    Wow, when does a bowler become No. 1 based on 1 series. Look how he fared in the 2 ODI's after the 37 wicket haul. 0/72 and 1/59.

    Australia is playing in SA and against a better opposition unlike in Aus Vs Eng. Lets see what Johnson has got.

  • on February 11, 2014, 16:39 GMT

    I remember England saying the same thing about Jimmy Anderson before the last eng/SA series. I think this is quite disrespectful to Steyn. I'm fairly sure no bowler has been ranked as many weeks consecutively at No 1 as he has.

    Mitch may be the most devastating or dangerous bowler going. But being the best is a test of time a test which Mitch has failed his entire career. I don't mind the aussies talking it up but give credit where it due. Steyn has done it all almost everywhere.

  • BradmanBestEver on February 11, 2014, 16:36 GMT

    @pjd_Howzat: Bradman also played on (1) uncovered pitches (2) using a bat that was not as "supercharged" as those of recent times (3) h wore no helmet and many other protective items that they do today (4) he did not play against weak teams like Bangladesh and Zimbabwe to the ex that they do today (5) and he batted at the most difficult No. 3 position.

    So one should not be surprised that former, unbiased test players like Martin Crowe for example, regard Bradman as the best ever. He was the best ever, without a shadow of a doubt. The second best is harder to determine however - i go for Kallis or Sobers

  • sergio11 on February 11, 2014, 15:32 GMT

    Come on...he is not a complete bolwer like Dale steyn...just see his action...its more round arm and scramble seam.he wont be able to move the ball around like a steyn or a philander..thats not his strenght...all he has in terms of movement is a in-dipper and its natural variation...so when the pitch offer pace and bounce he will be more than handfull...but on a flat low pitch..may be on Durban,or in Subcontinetal pitches he will be easy picking...no one will become a so called "number 1" unless he is proven in every pitches..Steyn has done that already..johnson with one series against a weak and mentally down ENG,on his backward...cannt tell yet...lot to prove yet.....but what he done to ENG batters...thats some thing very extra ordinary...41% short balls in that series...but i wonder...thats not the lenght to ball in SA...may be in Jo'boung..grounds there are smaller....with his pace he will travel if he ball the same length..

  • Zahidsaltin on February 11, 2014, 15:27 GMT

    You don't just become Worlds best after performing in a single "home" series. He isn't half the bowler Steyn is, and the what about playing a match or two in the subcontinent before rating him.

  • on February 11, 2014, 15:01 GMT

    Everyone remembers we were bowled out for 47, but never remember the fact that they were bowled out for 80 odd the same test, where other than the openers the total score was about 30.

    Who cares who is better out of steyn or mitch, point is we are gonna win, and the south africans know it, no jaques this batting line up is looking pretty flimsy, smith has always been average, and the other opener will be a bunny like usual from SA.

    Hashim is out of form but he is classy so i think he will perform better than maybe he has been, faf is an average player more suited to tying a test than ever making a winning score. AB is obviously a gun player so hes the one we will need to get. JP duminy is trash, whoever they bring in for the 5th bowler will go for 4 runs an over and wont make any runs whether than be parnell or whoever, whilst steyn and philander are very good players, morkel is overrated as hell, and will go for 3-4 runs an over just like last time we played. 2-1 OZ, wc OZ, T20 OZ

  • CrikiLeaks on February 11, 2014, 13:29 GMT

    @pjd_Howzat - Does Bradman's batting average, compared to international batsmen of his era and every international batsmen since, mean nothing? It is the equivalent of Steyn achieving a bowling average of 12. If DB was South African you would want a city named after him! You display your bias and arrogance so readily here that your opinions cannot be taken seriously. Some of us love the game and appreciate a good performance regardless of nationality.

  • NixNixon on February 11, 2014, 13:20 GMT

    Steyn can bowl for longer periods of time, he has a better action, he has more "gears" he can shift through than MJ, he is mentally stronger than Mj,he has been more consistent than MJ for years, he has more wickets, he has a better strike rate, he can bowl over 150 if he chooses to, he has more skill, he has the ability to produce wickets from nowhere. He is a better athlete. Steyn is just phenomenal. It took a herculean effort from MJ to be noticed again, a bowler "this good" would have never been dropped. He will be back to his inconsistent ways, its just a matter of time and when that happens, in combination with harris being a walking injury concern, then where does that leave Australia's number one bowling attack. With Peter Siddle? I don't rate him at all. Pattinson much better!

  • on February 11, 2014, 13:13 GMT

    Sorry Mr McDermott - the facts just don't back you up!! Another Aussie just mouthing off. Let the cricket speak guys. Looking forward to an intense series.

  • Tumi_tlhomz on February 11, 2014, 13:10 GMT

    @mitty2,I just got these from espncricinfo commentary for the second test match in durban last year against india. 8.1 Steyn to Vijay, no run, Steyn begins with a furious bouncer, 145.6kph, Vijay ducks under that one 10.1 Steyn to Dhawan, no run, beauty from Steyn, 147.3kph, this was short of a length and angling away, Dhawan wafts without moving his feet, beaten These serve as evidence that you are lying by saying steyn didn't bowl 1 ball over 145kph. In fact i can give you a alink of the commentary for you to see his bwling speeds in that spell. most balls over 140kph.

  • on February 11, 2014, 12:58 GMT

    Mitty 2 stop lying, Dale bowled quicker than 145kmh on multiple occasions during the Indian series, he even bowled around 145kmh in the second test of the pakistan series on death tracks. The reason why he bowled around 135kmh during the 6 for 8 demolition is because he has consistent swing that he wants to control( we all know Johnson's control). By the way, your favourite Johnson has never bowled a ball above 155 kmh something that Steyn has done on two occasions(156.3 being the fastest)

    P.S stop lying that you have watched the entire series - watching highlights is what you have done

  • GrantRH on February 11, 2014, 12:41 GMT

    I have looked at the statistics from this site and in each department Dale Steyn's figures are better than Johnsons, that's a undisputable fact. As to the comments about Aus having the best attack, I compared the figs of Steyn v Johnson, Philander v Harris and Morkel v Siddel and the findings are as follows. As already mentioned Steyn has superior figs, Philander's are significantly better than Harris and Morkel and Siddel are on par. So claims that Auz has a better bowling attack are as Smith said bull...t. Typical Auz macho bluster, get a life please !

  • Smahuta on February 11, 2014, 12:26 GMT

    It takes more than one series to be considered number 1. If Johnson can keep this sort of performance up for another two years running, he might get to number one. Yes Jonesey you do get spicy wickets in SA, I hope your batsmen are ready for steyn morkel and philander on them because you can bet that the SA batsmen who are born and bred on these wickets will be ready for the aus bowlers. I just hope we don't get another 47 all out which will ruin an already short series.

  • jonesy2 on February 11, 2014, 12:10 GMT

    I definitely expect him to do better, south Africa are preparing greentops especially for him and ryano which is nice of them.

  • izzidole on February 11, 2014, 12:09 GMT

    I wish to point out that in the article titled "A battle beyond the boardroom" the writer Daniel Brettig has failed to mention about the 4 nil series whitewash of India in 2011/12 and the 3 nil series whitewash of Sri Lanka in 2012/13 by Michael Clarke's men on the road. As such the final tally should read as follows. Played 24 matches. Won 11. Lost 8. Drawn 5. I wonder why the 5 nil series whitewash of England in the ashes recently wasn't included?

  • pjd_Howzat on February 11, 2014, 11:35 GMT

    @ ModernUmpiresPlz: I grew up playing on uncovered pitches and later played on covered ones. Found the uncovered ones a lot more true and readable. The art of doing a pitch when it is uncovered, you have to make it so that it stays the same all the time. So you had no day 4 or day 5 antics that you have today.

    further to that, if you keep on facing the same bowlers on the same pitches you kind of get use to them.

    and then you have to look at the speeds of the bowlers. most of them were not going more than 130 and there is a big difference in that 10plus km/h for reaction time.

    My point is , you cannot call Bradman the greatest batsman ever, just as you cannot compare a Tendulkar, Ponting or Kallis with him, as they played in different era's, different conditions.

    Same goes for Mitch. Let's wait and see what happens with Mr consistent?

  • SamRoy on February 11, 2014, 11:15 GMT

    Missing Amir like crazy. The only bowler except Steyn (of the current generation) who had it in him to be one of the greatest ever. Mitchell Johnson's slingshot action will never give him consistency. The English made him look better than he actually bowled (though he bowled very well). Aussies should stop hyping their players even though their fast bowling is very good (spinner is decent, gets a lot of cheap wickets, I will call him good once he can run through a top order of a top 4 in the first innings of a test match, except Herath, Ajmal, Rehman and Ojha there aren't any other good spinner around ). It seems a new Aussie trait (bad qualities one can imbibe if you read too much British newspaper). It was not there 20 years back in the Aussie game. Also too much verbal abuse has crept in their game since the days of McGrath.--- Border, Boon, Mark Waugh, Taylor also played the game very hard but very fair.

  • Biso on February 11, 2014, 11:12 GMT

    Even without Kallis and Amla in poor form SA are a lot better batting side than England. In a nut shell SA bowling is better than Oz. I am not sure about Oz batting and have to keep fingers crossed. SA batting will certainly be under pressure from Oz bowling. Will the Oz batting perform as a team? They have the class in Clarke and guts in Haddin. But, to predict with more confidence, you still need a Pujara or Kohli apart from Clarke to get at par with SA bowling.

  • Meety on February 11, 2014, 11:02 GMT

    I think Oz are a better team than the last time they played the Saffas, & the saffas minus Kallis are arguably their worst on paper in a decade (very high base standard). So the difference between the teams SHOULD not be too much. Oz like playing in SA - so I am confident. SA deserve their billing as #1 - it is undisputed, but I think we can give a good account for ourselves. I disagree with Billy Mac though - Steyn is the best Test bowler in the world, with MJ running very hot, but as everyone knows, MJ has had more off days in a season then Steyn has in a career. That said - Steyn has had an injury problem & MJ is bursting at the seams - should be a very good series! Whilst I want Oz to win - I just hope there will be no UDRS/Umpiring issues - so the series is won on skill & not luck!

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 11, 2014, 11:00 GMT

    @pjd_Howzat Your argument has one massive flaw. Back then the pitches weren't covered. Batting was MUCH more difficult than it ever is now, green tops and dust bowls don't even get close. Despite this he still averaged what he did. If you think any of the modern day batsmen would go as well on the pitches of old you are sadly mistaken. Averaging 50 on beautifully flat and protected pitches is a joke compared to what Bradman managed in his day. Even if you had average bowlers they would still be more difficult to face on those pitches than the best bowlers are now on comparably passive decks.

  • Biso on February 11, 2014, 10:50 GMT

    MJ may have the pace but he certainly does not have the skills of Steyn or Phillander for that matter. However, his pace can certainly be a big factor on fast bouncy conditions only if he preserves his his new found accuracy. SA batters will certainly find the going lot tougher with Kallis gone and Amla not in the best of form. ABD might play an odd brilliant innings but Amla's form is crucial. Also, Oz batters are yet to be tested against quality bowling on helpful conditions. England were woeful and with Board being the only bowler of substance with Swann finished and the others looking pedestrian- not much can be read into Oz batting when it comes to assessing their capacity in SA conditions. Ironically the series will be decided by how well the Oz batters perform and how well they support their bowlers.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 10:46 GMT

    @everyone, bah. Steyn in Australia barely, if ever, went above 140km/h. Steyn against India was NOT ONCE above 145 so I don't know where you're getting that from @thumi... He was bowling under 140 for the most part. And yes, I did watch the series. Even in his 6/8 Pakistan spell he was bowling UNDER 135km/h - with one wicket coming at 137km/h. His speed hasn't been as high as it used to be for a while now, but it doesn't matter because of his exquisite skill (accuracy/wrist position/rhythm). He could be bowling 160km/h tomorrow but it wouldn't change the fact that over the last while he's not been bowling at his top speed (i.e., consistently under 140km/h)

  • AidanFX on February 11, 2014, 10:42 GMT

    Whilst it is great coaches and captain is backing the bowlers and they can by all means do it publicly, just a bit of tact hey? SA have had proven bowlers over a period of time; whereas OZ have been building a very strong bowling lineup for a while it is still yet to peak, if it shall indeed do so. It would be smart to refrain from comments like "currently #1 bowler" "we have best attack in world". It is a set up for a ruthless media and public backlash if it backfires and SA will enjoy rubbing salt into the wounds. I remember when Captains used to talk up there chances against S Waugh's team prior to a series - he would say "come here and prove it on the field".

  • pjd_Howzat on February 11, 2014, 10:37 GMT

    Facebook_user- that is my point exactly, there were a lot less competition at that stage and a lot less challenging and unknowm bowling and pitches. So you have actually confirmed the argument.

    For the time he was playing he was by far the best, but it is hardly a reason to call him the best ever as that would mean you compare him to players of today that are playing against far stronger and varied opposition.

    The same argument goes for Mitch. McDermot is basing his view on playing against a single opposition in home conditions. Hardly basis for Nr 1, as that can only be earned over time and against various opposition in various conditions.

  • on February 11, 2014, 10:24 GMT

    Didn't read the article. So much talk from Australia.

  • on February 11, 2014, 10:15 GMT

    pjd_Howzat Bradman didn't have too many choices at the time to place elsewhere. Granted he did skip a tour to NZ but they were hardly strong opposition anyway. Lot less test nations back then so your argument is fundamentally flawed.

  • disco_bob on February 11, 2014, 9:56 GMT

    @AltafPatel on (February 11, 2014, 8:36 GMT), Mitch didn't bowl in the England Ashes series, and he only bowled 17 overs in one innings in India at 2.60 so I fail to see what you think he should have been able to make an impact in those two series.

  • Jibber-Jabber on February 11, 2014, 9:55 GMT

    Blah, blah, blah. Typical Aussie talking themselves up and trying to put demons into the oppositions minds. No.1 .... no mate, look at the official ratings. And, wait until Morkel at 6ft6 gets to bowl ... then you'll see ducking and hopping. Series is SA's to take.

  • bowledwarnie on February 11, 2014, 9:54 GMT

    The one attribute which Mitchell Johnson is undoubtedly the #1 in the world for is inconsistency. He admittedly bowled well in the Ashes on home turf but was allowed to due to 1) the fragility of the England top order, and 2) support he received from his fellow bowlers at the other end. Harris and Siddle are fine, experienced bowlers but i don't believe the SA batting line-up will allow Lyon to tie up an end as he did against England. He's moderate at best and is used more like a typical SA off-spinner which is to keep it tight & let the quicks get the wickets.

    It's about the side who bats best (read: occupay the crease) but the ability to pick up 10 wickets si always the hallmark of a top cricket side at whatever level. SA's 4th seamer (probably Parnell) will be the key because if he goes well then it will release the pressure on the other 3, if not and he gives away cheap runs then it's go to force a strike bowler like Steyn to bowl longer spells & keep it tighter. Can't wait..

  • Tumi_tlhomz on February 11, 2014, 9:49 GMT

    @mitty2,clearly you don't watch south afirca play. steyn has been bowling at speeds of up to 148kph and in the recent series against india was averaging 140kph most spells so please stop lying. better yet,watch the series and you'll see what I'm talking about.

  • neo-galactico on February 11, 2014, 9:48 GMT

    More bull dot dot dot... On a serious note, the Aussie bowlers are in form and Mitch was in the form of his life during the Ashes and was the best bowler on show whether that makes him the in the world is highly contestable. SA would be more worried by Ryno who is more consistent and an all round better bowler (Vern on steroids to some extent). Steyn is smarter bowler now he bowls within himself unless he needs to crank it up when the pitch flattens, and he's more effective for it (statistically speaking). Then again the SA bowlers are top of the rankings and have been bowling @ a high level for a while now even without a reliable spinner. Form is temporary, class is...

  • on February 11, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    If these Aussies play half as well as they speak, SA are going to get a hiding. I often wonder if the Aussies actually believe what they say?

  • on February 11, 2014, 9:46 GMT

    Mitty 2- stop making a fool out of yourself, during the Indian series, Dale Steyn bowled deliveries ranging from 146 to 148kmh on regular occurences and his average speed was around 141/142 kmh which is lower than Johnson's but Steyn is shorter and his so called ''skidiness'' and low point of release makes him feel quicker. I have faced Steyn and I have also faced Morkel( who bowled a 153kmh delivery during the South African T20 competition) and I can tell you that Steyn feels considerably quicker. However, his true strength is his swing which Johnson sometimes has with the new ball but never with the old one unlike Steyn. SA-Australia 2:1

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 11, 2014, 9:37 GMT

    @AltafPatel Your comment doesn't really make sense. India is India, I'll give you that, but SA is a hell of a lot like home conditions, especially compared to India. In regards to the comment about how he played in England recently... well he didn't actually play at all in the Ashes series in England. Might want to get your facts straight first before denouncing him for something that never happened.

  • Thegimp on February 11, 2014, 9:32 GMT

    New series, New players, refurbished players, different strokes, statistics mean nothing.

    Every series starts fresh, a bowler is only a couple of 5 fors from immortality, an injury from disaster, a batsman a couple of low scores from infamy and 2 centuries from glory.

    Statistics are the fruit of fools and are only useful in hindsight. This series could, for all intent and purpose, be decided by the toss on the first day. A pity it is only a three test series.

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on February 11, 2014, 9:31 GMT

    Sometimes I wonder if the Australian camp really believes SA is stupid enough to buy into this crap, or really what the point of it is. I can only see it putting extra pressure on Mitch which has caused him problems in the past, and obviously it has no effect on the SA team.

    Would you trade Johnson for Steyn if given the opportunity? Apparently Craig wouldn't. Somehow I can't help but doubt that.

  • pjd_Howzat on February 11, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    Your name says it all: "BradmanBestEver"

    Mitch is only Aus' Nr 1 bowler - he was bowling to English players not even near village green formon pitches more suited to Aus than Eng.

    So please keep dreaming your dreams and hope you are not woken up by a Steyn-mare ... and Bradman never played anywhere else except in Aus and England - so please do not be shocked that there are peoplethat think he is not the best ever - he may be the best then between Aud and England, as Mitch is now

  • drlimpel on February 11, 2014, 9:28 GMT

    "It (the ball) was something I've very rarely seen in my 35 years of cricket. It was going towards leg stump and knocked out his off stump. It swung unbelievably late" It's funny that you would say that Mr. McDermott because I clearly recall Johnson himself losing his off stump to a similar ball from Mohammad Amir not very long ago in an actual cricket match, which I am sure you would agree is where it matters. A simple google search with both players' names will refresh your memory, given that it is a very popular cricket clip on youtube. More to the point though I think pretty much everyone who is not in the Australian team is of the opinion that your bowling attack still has some ways to go before laying a claim to being best in the world. The incessant comments to the contrary coming from your camp only belie your underlying lack of confidence. Do yourself a favor and take a cue from the South Africans who are wisely conserving their energies for the cricket field.

  • lane87 on February 11, 2014, 9:27 GMT

    @Mitty2 Steyn bowling 135km/h? What cricket have you been watching? Steyn regularly averages over 140km/h in tests and can bowl 150+ when he feels like it, not when the stars align and his rhythm lines up (looking at you MJ).

    Dale is a champion performer, has officially been the #1 bowler in the world for four years (only recently displaced by Vern) and now his tail will undoubtedly be up.

    Well done Aus and McDermott, you've made your bed... #ProteaFire

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 9:23 GMT

    @AtafPatel, mate he played one test out of 9! And that one test was the last Indian test, when he actually bowled quite well for no return - he got a lot of edges (particularly off vijay and Pujara) but they all fell short or were dropped. And I dare say it but you'd struggle to find any modern day seamer apart from maybe Steyn who could prosper on those dreadful excuses for cricket pitches.

  • JimmySA on February 11, 2014, 9:22 GMT

    Oh, AB de Villiers is better than Bradman, why? because #1 if you compare the last test matches each of them played AB scored 70 odd and Brad went for 0. #2 because I say so because I'm South African. Nothing outlandish right?

  • disco_bob on February 11, 2014, 9:18 GMT

    I am officially excited. A fully confident MJ is a fearsome prospect indeed.

  • Manxmuppet on February 11, 2014, 9:15 GMT

    Talk, talk, talk, talk..........we'll know for sure after these 3 test matches. This should be a cracker of a series. I'm neutral and can't wait to see who bosses this one.

  • inefekt on February 11, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    Lasfri - you obviously didn't take note of the bowling speeds during the recent Indian tour of SAF. Steyn barely broke 145kph let alone 150, he was regularly bowling around the 140 mark and some spells he was down around 135. He is NOT faster than Johnson, not a chance. But I do agree with you that Steyn is the better bowler regardless of pace. Johnson looked to have lost his mojo during the ODI series and that wicket of Rogers was the only one he took in that innings McDermott is referring to. It was the other bowlers who took all the wickets.

  • pjd_Howzat on February 11, 2014, 9:13 GMT

    The Aussies have to talk themselves up, otherwise they will never believe that they can do it - so all this talk is just to try and keep the negatives and reality out of the mind, that SA has 3 bowlers that are all better than Johnson.

  • BradmanBestEver on February 11, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Well based on most recent performances, MJ is clearly no. 1. There is no doubt about that so McDermott is correct.

    The question is: can MJ maintain his most recent standards? Some of us still have doubts. But it is possible that he is a different bowler now that he was a few years back. People do change. So if he has changed permanently for the better, look out opposing batsmen!

  • on February 11, 2014, 9:03 GMT

    Steyn is a super star. No doubt about it. But if Johnson can add some late swing to the brutal pace and bouncer barrage of the last 12 months then he may well be the bowler of the series. Steyn is not as quick but certainly more skilful. After three tests we'll know who has the best attack. Go Aussies!

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 8:58 GMT

    @lasfri, steyn's bowling 135km/h these days and has been for a while now.

  • Shaggy076 on February 11, 2014, 8:56 GMT

    I would have thought McDermott was entitles to his opinion, he is the coach and should back his players so why the controversy. Yes Steyn and Philanderer are deserving of there high rank so why be insecure and worry about the opinion of Johnson coach doing his job. Not to many blokes have taken there last 37 wickets at 14 againstva batting line up where at the start of the series 3 batsman averaged over 50, Bell and Root high 40's and the keeper over 40 so I would have thought the comment on current form isnt too outlandish.

  • on February 11, 2014, 8:40 GMT

    Brilliant player and in brilliant form, but to say he is number one over Dale Steyn is the most laughable thing ive heard since ian bothams predictions on the ashes series in aus.

  • on February 11, 2014, 8:39 GMT

    We all know what happened to Anderson after Saker proclaimed him to be the No. 1 bowler and all that jazz...its one thing to encourage your bowlers by praising them but "No.1 bowler in the world?" and that too in the lead-up of a series against a team which has THE No.1 bowler in the world. If nothing has spurred Steyn on till now, this definitely would. The fact of the matter is SA have at least 2 better bowlers than MJ in Steyn and Philander and I would be surprised if Philander ends up with lesser wickets than MJ this series..

  • AltafPatel on February 11, 2014, 8:36 GMT

    Same Johnson could not prevent 0-4 wash in India last year nor he could do so in England. He still has to prove on wickets outside home conditions.

  • wanatawu on February 11, 2014, 8:33 GMT

    Can wait for this game bring it on.

  • on February 11, 2014, 8:30 GMT

    Well your just an Australia rue blue McDermott. Where Mitchell Johnson had a fantastic summerr agaest the English \, that why you think he better then everyone else Criag McDermott

  • lasfri on February 11, 2014, 8:07 GMT

    Quoting "It was going towards leg stump and knocked out his off stump. It swung unbelievably late.". Steyn has done that on a number of occasions in international test cricket, the ball to Pujara in the 2nd test being an example. He is as quick, if not quicker and can swing the ball both ways, not in only one direction like Mitch. Dale v/s Mitch an exciting contest in the offing. My vote is currently for Dale.

  • on February 11, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    Let's see what steyne does before we jump to conclusions. Anyway this MJ has a good history here and is another bowler to his 2009 effort. I see it comes down to then difference in batting. We bat to full potential and oz wins. A single fade and SA won't give oz a break. C'mon Aussie !

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    I watched the Perth and MCG tests in 2008 between SA and Aus again recently. Johnson got seven wickets in the first innings in Perth, but then fell away in the second and SA scored 415 in the fourth innings to win. At the MCG, Johnson was less of a threat. J also played in the last series in SA. He is therefore not new to Smith, Amla, et al.You can bet your last penny that he will bowl very well again and be as dangerous as ever. Fact is,the SA batsmen dealt with him before and will have to do so again if the Proteas have any hope to win like they did in Perth twice. In my book the crucial factor will be how many runs the Aussie batsmen will post. Here Haddin is the absolute key. If I had known what his score would be, I will tell you who will be in the strongest position to win the test. So, the real danger man is the Aussie WC and not the opening bowler, good as he may be! McDermott is therefore diverting attention!

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Just had a look at the ICC Test Bowler Ranking and, yes, Philander still number one and Steyn number two. Johnson at nine. One swallow does not make a summer now does it, or should I say, one series does not make a bowler. Like Smith said, with the Ausies you have to sift through the bull.....

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    ah yes, love seeing the Ausies back to their old ways of being "the best". always creates great cricket!

  • that_guy on February 11, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Sames bowler as Lords 2009... he's good for sure but a tad mercurial

  • wanatawu on February 11, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    LOL, it seems Johnson is on fire come up Wednesday, why does this guys praise themselves so much.

  • nzcricket174 on February 11, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    oh come on. I love Mitch, but he is just not in Steyn's class. nobody is.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Also he took 37 wickets, not 36. This on top of the fact that he had the likes of Rhyno (no.3), Lyon (no. 19) and Siddle (top 10) taking wickets off him!

    Also, "It was going towards leg stump and knocked out his off stump. It swung unbelievably late." --> That's an exact description of his ball to Cook at the Adelaide oval, if I'm not mistaken (might have been perth).

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Oo, this is going to cause backfire. Steyn's lost pace, but isn't necessarily any less effective, as showcased by his brilliant turnaround in the Indian series. He just has such an ability to turn it on on the right occasion, (him vs us in Perth was brilliant after a mediocre two tests before) whilst also having that destructiveness (6/8). To back that up his record's more than phenomenal, and he's been so consistent for so long. So Billy's statement is a bit ludicrous. And I haven't even mentioned Philander... However, only MJ could have done what MJ did in the Ashes. MJ when on song is better than any other bowler in the world. And I standby that assertion. No fast bowler currently could come near to what MJ did in five whole tests without losing puff once - almost 40 wickets at under 14. Against a team with most of the top 7 averaging above 40. On slow decks with the exception of the Gabba and Perth. He has the highest destructive capacity out of everyone. Consistency is the issue.

  • Andre117 on February 11, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Johnson is too inconsistent to be #1. Once he can get his average under 25 and keep it there like Steyn and now Philander as well, then you can challenge for and HOLD the #1 spot. One great series does not make you the #1 bowler in the world. If you look at each team's top 3 bowlers, South has 2 of them with ratings of 900+ with a capable backup in Morkel. Australia has 2 regular top 10's in Siddle and Harris with Johnson coming off just 1 good series. I see Australia's routing of England as a warning bell. They will be overconfident. Don't expect our batsmen to roll over and play dead like England did.

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  • Andre117 on February 11, 2014, 7:31 GMT

    Johnson is too inconsistent to be #1. Once he can get his average under 25 and keep it there like Steyn and now Philander as well, then you can challenge for and HOLD the #1 spot. One great series does not make you the #1 bowler in the world. If you look at each team's top 3 bowlers, South has 2 of them with ratings of 900+ with a capable backup in Morkel. Australia has 2 regular top 10's in Siddle and Harris with Johnson coming off just 1 good series. I see Australia's routing of England as a warning bell. They will be overconfident. Don't expect our batsmen to roll over and play dead like England did.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:32 GMT

    Oo, this is going to cause backfire. Steyn's lost pace, but isn't necessarily any less effective, as showcased by his brilliant turnaround in the Indian series. He just has such an ability to turn it on on the right occasion, (him vs us in Perth was brilliant after a mediocre two tests before) whilst also having that destructiveness (6/8). To back that up his record's more than phenomenal, and he's been so consistent for so long. So Billy's statement is a bit ludicrous. And I haven't even mentioned Philander... However, only MJ could have done what MJ did in the Ashes. MJ when on song is better than any other bowler in the world. And I standby that assertion. No fast bowler currently could come near to what MJ did in five whole tests without losing puff once - almost 40 wickets at under 14. Against a team with most of the top 7 averaging above 40. On slow decks with the exception of the Gabba and Perth. He has the highest destructive capacity out of everyone. Consistency is the issue.

  • Mitty2 on February 11, 2014, 7:36 GMT

    Also he took 37 wickets, not 36. This on top of the fact that he had the likes of Rhyno (no.3), Lyon (no. 19) and Siddle (top 10) taking wickets off him!

    Also, "It was going towards leg stump and knocked out his off stump. It swung unbelievably late." --> That's an exact description of his ball to Cook at the Adelaide oval, if I'm not mistaken (might have been perth).

  • nzcricket174 on February 11, 2014, 7:43 GMT

    oh come on. I love Mitch, but he is just not in Steyn's class. nobody is.

  • wanatawu on February 11, 2014, 7:44 GMT

    LOL, it seems Johnson is on fire come up Wednesday, why does this guys praise themselves so much.

  • that_guy on February 11, 2014, 7:45 GMT

    Sames bowler as Lords 2009... he's good for sure but a tad mercurial

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    ah yes, love seeing the Ausies back to their old ways of being "the best". always creates great cricket!

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:47 GMT

    Just had a look at the ICC Test Bowler Ranking and, yes, Philander still number one and Steyn number two. Johnson at nine. One swallow does not make a summer now does it, or should I say, one series does not make a bowler. Like Smith said, with the Ausies you have to sift through the bull.....

  • on February 11, 2014, 7:59 GMT

    I watched the Perth and MCG tests in 2008 between SA and Aus again recently. Johnson got seven wickets in the first innings in Perth, but then fell away in the second and SA scored 415 in the fourth innings to win. At the MCG, Johnson was less of a threat. J also played in the last series in SA. He is therefore not new to Smith, Amla, et al.You can bet your last penny that he will bowl very well again and be as dangerous as ever. Fact is,the SA batsmen dealt with him before and will have to do so again if the Proteas have any hope to win like they did in Perth twice. In my book the crucial factor will be how many runs the Aussie batsmen will post. Here Haddin is the absolute key. If I had known what his score would be, I will tell you who will be in the strongest position to win the test. So, the real danger man is the Aussie WC and not the opening bowler, good as he may be! McDermott is therefore diverting attention!

  • on February 11, 2014, 8:03 GMT

    Let's see what steyne does before we jump to conclusions. Anyway this MJ has a good history here and is another bowler to his 2009 effort. I see it comes down to then difference in batting. We bat to full potential and oz wins. A single fade and SA won't give oz a break. C'mon Aussie !