Australia v England, 2nd Test, Adelaide, 3rd day December 7, 2013

Johnson 'emotional' after dispelling doubts


Mitchell Johnson doubted his ability to follow up on Brisbane as much as anyone.

Having shattered any notions of his former inconsistency by delivering a spell for the ages at Adelaide Oval to push the Test and Ashes series firmly Australia's way, Johnson admitted his rich relief at finally putting two such performances together.

"For me to be able to back up a performance like Brisbane and do it here it is a really nice feeling for me," Johnson said after scooping 7 for 40, twice reaching the verge of a hat-trick. "There's been talk in the past, I can have those performances where I can blow a team away and then the next one not turn up. For me I think that was why it was a bit more emotional and special, because I was able to stick to my plans and go through.

"The ball came out of my hand exactly how I wanted it to. There was a bit of talk about me not hitting the stumps much in Brisbane, but I was excited about the variable bounce and the reverse swing Adelaide provides, so it was really nice today, a really nice feeling, backed up by all the bowlers. There was a period there where the ball wasn't really doing a lot, but we stuck to our plans and got a little reverse there."

England were put on notice that Johnsons had maintained his speed and rhythm when he bowled Alastair Cook with a fiendish delivery on the second evening, but his most memorable impact was to be had after lunch on day three. After defeating Ben Stokes and the completely out-of-sorts Matt Prior, a now trademark piece of gamesmanship by Stuart Broad allowed Johnson to regather himself and inflict further damage.

"It was quite good that Broady stopped me and held up the game for a little bit, because you can get overexcited," Johnson said. "It was actually a good time for me to relax and think about what I was doing, because you can get too involved in how the crowd is reacting and start thinking about going for the jugular when you should just keep bowling those good areas.

"I think it's something I've really improved on, I guess it's just come with maturity and knowing my game a lot better. I definitely felt I was in one of those zones where nothing's really going on in your mind."

Johnson's appearances in this series were his first since a single Test on the abortive tour to India. He had earlier missed near enough to the whole of 2011-12 with a toe injury at a time when his desire to play the game had been sliding. He said the time away had been a great help in allowing him to focus on finding the consistency he had always lacked despite passing 200 Test wickets.

"I didn't doubt I could get back into the Australian team," he said. "I knew if I worked hard, gave myself every chance, through my toe injury I made sure I did everything right whereas in the past when I first had my stress fractures I rushed back. I really worked on what I needed to work on, met some really positive people along the way, which have been a big help, but having that belief in myself has been the biggest thing.

"I was definitely nervous at the start of the series, hadn't played a Test in a long while, and what England have done to us in the past was on my mind, but I was able to push that aside and bowl the way I wanted to bowl."

As for the Mephistophelian moustache that has seemingly added to his menace this series, Johnson has committed to keeping it until the Ashes are won. But no further. "Some have called it a magical mo, and it's going okay at the moment," he said. "But once the series is over I'll end it..."

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Dummy4 on December 8, 2013, 8:04 GMT

    Ok. Accepted. IPL did not help. Aussies are headstrong people. Ok.Johnson is doing well but when he is doing well why he has to sledge. You should see the way he looks at the batsmen after his follow-thru. It is like Lord Shiva opening his third eye and making ashes of everything in front. Be Humble in victory and defeat. Aussies can't do that. They want to snatch victory by hook or crook. Ultimately it is not who won the game that matters but how one played it. Will CA take note and let journos like Chloe Saltau and others not get sarcastc. However, the Aussies might think they are great, but they have seen so many defeats in recent years and you cannot sit at the top all the time and that era will never come back. Have they produced another Bradman. Bah. and they wont change their crooked ways. Be good sportsmen like the West Indian boys. Whether they play good or bad today they play

  • gurinder on December 8, 2013, 7:43 GMT

    ipl was instrumental in reshaping johnson 's career . even formeer aussie captain ponting said so. sachin declared before ashes that johnson was back and warned england of impending storm. but england did not heeded the warnings and results are for everyone to see. lots of flak is given to ipl but people dont talk much of millions that ipl provide to players from poorer nations or getting players back in groove. long live ipl and continue to serve cricket.

  • suru on December 8, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    ipl is a indian tournament, indians dont care whether oz or eng fans watch it or not, indians loving ipl. Foreign player adding extra flavour to ipl.

    johnson used ipl (facilities, coaching staffs offered by MI team management) to get focus on him as he was sidelined and his odi performence against eng and ind earned him ashes call and he performance is best in decade.

    ipl is here to stay.

  • andrews on December 8, 2013, 3:21 GMT

    Many an Ashes defeat, frontfootlunge? Just the 2 actually. Trying to get a bit of pathetic bravado in. The fact is, you can't talk about a long period of English dominance, because there wasn't one. (10 tests all now since 2005.) Darshin, Johnson would be back in the Australian side without the IPL. The odd 4 over performance against tin-pot opposition doesn't count for much. And don't call me ill-informed about the game.

  • Ron on December 8, 2013, 2:44 GMT

    I loved to see Mitch getting in the face of Anderson without saying a word. Anderson took over the role of Fred Flintstone (Flintoff) in recent times, standing in the middle of the pitch sticking is chest out like Magilla Gorilla and waving his arms like Tinker Bell

  • Wd on December 8, 2013, 2:40 GMT

    I cannot believe the number of deluded people saying the IPL resurrected his career! It's just a hit and giggle tournament where he bowls 4 overs a match. His career was resurrected by the hard work he put in when he got injured and worked on completely re-modelling his action along with lillee and the other coaches, not by bowling 4 overs in a domestic t20 tournament which would not be anywhere in his list of top priorities. It's just a chance to relax and earn some $$$s. IPL is not test cricket. His performances in the ODI's in England and vs India were far more important. Well done to CA too for withdrawing him from the ODI series in India and ensuring he played a shield match for prepare for the Ashes.

  • Graham on December 8, 2013, 2:31 GMT

    ItTo me it was the injury that resurrected Johnson career, he had time to realise how much he wanted it and got his body back in order. I thought he was very impressive against Sri Lanka last year and surprised he missed the Ashes series He kept some form up in the IPL and then was very impressive in one day internationals firstly against England then India. The IPL was not the reason for his striking renaissance as he was performing for Australia long before the IPL started but it certainly helped him maintain his form. Personally I think the IPL is not great gor bowlers who have had a full Australian season and wish Hilfenhaus would not go there so he can get back to bowling over 140 k/gr again by doing preseason based around weight training.

  • suresh on December 8, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    Johnson Masters Technique! :)

  • Hemant on December 7, 2013, 23:29 GMT

    The Red Sox grew facial hair -- and won the WS -- Mitch can do it all by himself!

  • Merv on December 7, 2013, 23:25 GMT

    Nonsense about the IPL re-starting his career. His performances in Australian domestic first class cricket and the ODIs series also showed that he was a different and more accurate bowler than in the past, changing from his long run up and dropping away at the crease. His improvement was coached and technical, not based on T20 cameos.

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