Australia v England, 3rd Test, Perth, 2nd day December 17, 2010

Johnson names Perth six-for as his best


Mitchell Johnson has rated his devastating return of 6 for 38 as better than his career-best haul against South Africa here two summers ago. But despite swinging the ball further than he ever has, he said he wasn't even trying to curl it into the pads of England's right-handers.

"I think it's a bonus," he said of the shape that helped him pick up the lbws of Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood before lunch on the second day. The dismissals were part of a damaging burst of 4 for 7 in 27 balls that started England's fall for 187, and he finished off the tail to gain his second-best Test figures.

The performance surged Australia back into the series - they had a lead of 200 at stumps - but Johnson isn't expecting to swing the ball in every innings and was thankful for a helpful breeze. "I like to run in and try to hit the wicket hard," he said. "When the ball does swing, it definitely puts doubts in the mind of the batsmen.

"I haven't got all my wickets bowling inswingers to the right-handers. I do get the ball to go across right-handers and get nicks. When I swing it back in, it definitely helps me pick up more wickets."

Johnson spent the week before the Test with Troy Cooley, the bowling coach, and the conditioner Stuart Karppinen to rectify a string of technical and physical faults. It was a controversial decision at the time because it kept him out of Western Australia's Sheffield Shield game, but the plan turned out to be perfect.

"One thing I was working on in the nets with Troy and Stuart was getting my momentum going forward, instead of just dropping off to square leg," he said. "I think that's definitely helped me and got my arm higher and wrist behind the ball a bit better. I also worked on getting my lower-half body strength back to where I needed to be."

Johnson now has 27 wickets at 18.51 in four matches at the WACA, his home ground, and his best Test figures of 8 for 61 came here against South Africa in 2008-09. "I think I bowled better today than then," he said. "But it's only one innings. We need to go out there in the second innings and do it again. There's a long way to go."

The outstanding display also showed England how much of a menace Johnson can be and helped him to move on from his troubled times during the 2009 tour. "To be a big part of this Ashes series is exciting for me," he said.

Peter English is the Australasia editor of Cricinfo

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Rajaram on December 18, 2010, 0:12 GMT

    Mitch is Ricky's go-to man. Absolutely. NOW the Poms who scoffed at him, will treat him with rrespect. Undoubtedly, his 6 -fer at the WACA was the turning point in the match AND the Series for Australia. Go, Mitch, go!

  • Steve on December 17, 2010, 21:54 GMT

    A few of us eating humble pie! So many of us thought it was idiocy for Johnson to be staying with the team and having net sessions rather than playing sheffield shield. Still---the obvious question asked by everyone: why between tests 2 & 3 and not before Test 1? Is that Johnson or the team management?

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 21:31 GMT

    December 16th 2010 will be remebered as the fast bowlers reminded the world that they are the most spectacular sight in cricket. Johnson, Steyn, and Morkel made apparent greates look ordinary. When a genuine quick is on a rampage their seems to be no one in world cricket today who can take the heat.

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 20:12 GMT

    It is good to seec Johnson back in his golden form. The way he trapped KP,Paul and Trott was awesome...Even Strauus was off balance while facing a delivery when well set on 50....

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 19:44 GMT

    well done mitchel, i would like to see u as an attacking bowler for australia

  • Dummy4 on December 17, 2010, 19:38 GMT

    Mitchell gets the majority of his wickets without the inswinger to right handers. So glad hes got his action repeatable for once. Hopefully he'll back this performance up and increase his pace cos he can be menacing when hes in his best rhythm.

  • John on December 17, 2010, 17:30 GMT

    @Something_Witty: I agree entirely. Johnson was superb. I hope for England's sake he can't do it consistently, because if he bowls like that for the rest of the series it's going to be very hard work for the England batsmen. The three lbws were beautiful examples of late inswing (to the right-handers) at pace and would have beaten anyone in the world. Fabulous to watch.

  • Mashuq on December 17, 2010, 17:03 GMT

    Watching MJ perform from here in South Africa I could hardly believe it. As we say here, long live Mitch, long live! And I hope to see you slay the Saffers here again in October!

  • Marcio on December 17, 2010, 12:41 GMT

    I Turned on the tele early in the day, before MJ had a wicket, and noticed that he was far more relaxed in his run up and delivery, and far more accurate. When he does this, he is a world beater. Loved wtaching him, tats shining in the sun, hair gel blowing in the breeze... what more could an Aussie ask of such a fragile soul?

  • Ken on December 17, 2010, 12:31 GMT

    Superb Johno. If you replicate this - the urn will return. The poms' stomachs now churn, and soon they will learn, that in Oz they will burn (according to Vern).....

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