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

Johnson 'emotional' after dispelling doubts

36

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

  • 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

  • gsingh7 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.

  • IndianEagle 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.

  • andrew-schulz 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.

  • Avagoumug 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-X 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.

  • Shaggy076 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_ramamoorthy on December 8, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    Johnson Masters Technique! :)

  • BnH1985Fan on December 7, 2013, 23:29 GMT

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

  • Mervo 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.

  • 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

  • gsingh7 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.

  • IndianEagle 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.

  • andrew-schulz 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.

  • Avagoumug 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-X 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.

  • Shaggy076 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_ramamoorthy on December 8, 2013, 0:34 GMT

    Johnson Masters Technique! :)

  • BnH1985Fan on December 7, 2013, 23:29 GMT

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

  • Mervo 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.

  • Front-Foot-Lunge on December 7, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    Full credit to Johnson, he's been on the recevieving end of many an Ashes defeat to England, and he's gone some way to redeeming himself. He's found his groove and taken advantage of an England team who went into the series majorily underprepared, but far too over-confident. Who can blame them really given recent history. Their inability to recover by the second game of the series has left them all-too exposed to Johnson's effective skiddy bowling. Makes for an entertaining cricketing story.

  • kepler22b on December 7, 2013, 21:22 GMT

    I'm an Aussie and agree that IPL was one part of Mitch's resurrection. (Jits, DC75 I'm with you)

    1. Mitch himself 2. Getting his personal life in better order 3. Getting better coaching 4. Both the IPL and recent one day series

    I also understand he has spent some time with a young Australian soldier who won a Victoria Cross in Afghanistan to help him put his life into some perspective.

    People need to get over this anti IPL stuff; its here to stay and all nations need to understand how to get the best out of it.

  • Lawls on December 7, 2013, 20:51 GMT

    Yes, Yes, it's all about you, India. LOL

  • NorthPacifictragic on December 7, 2013, 20:11 GMT

    Looks like Mitch has his JoMo workin'.

  • LaxmanJ on December 7, 2013, 19:45 GMT

    Waiting to watch yet another Magic Spell by Mitchell Johnson!!! Man you can do it again with the kind of bowling you exposed today...Enjoyed every of bit even skipping my breakfast...

  • cbaunni on December 7, 2013, 19:41 GMT

    Australia has won my heart...

  • on December 7, 2013, 19:36 GMT

    All the arguments stating that IPL is not responsible for resurrecting Mitchell Johnson's career are by people who are very ill informed about the game and dont follow cricket regularly, just popping up to comment now that Johnson's performed. Before the IPL season started, Johnson was a long forgotten bowler for Australia since the past couple of years, with the other Mitchell (Starc) taking away his place along with Pattinson. Had it not been Mitchell's performances in IPL, which were a super stand out, he would have found it very hard, rather impossible to be even noticed by the Australian selectors. People always jump to criticize IPL, but forget that IPL has given back Australia its two lost heroes who have regained glory: Shane Watson & Mitchell Johnson. Give the credit to IPL when its due. Accept the fact.

  • Rohit... on December 7, 2013, 18:56 GMT

    @ binojpeter : SRT would not have lasted 24 years without a proper cricketing logic... He has faced Johnson in the nets & knew that he is now at his peak and made the statement... The rest of the world learnt about this potential many months later.

  • DC75 on December 7, 2013, 18:44 GMT

    Lots of fans have said that Johnson's recovery is not because of IPL. It is true because only failures are attributed to IPL, recoveries are all self made and failures are always blamed on IPL.

  • satkaru1 on December 7, 2013, 18:43 GMT

    Mr.Tendulkar called it out much before the ashes started..

    " If you see how Mittchel Johnson is bowling, England is in for a great challenge"

    It just tells you how much of a cricketing brain he is....

  • Beertjie on December 7, 2013, 18:35 GMT

    As one of your many detractors these past few years I salute you Mitch. Going to cheer you on at Centurion in February. Break a few more limbs!

  • binojpeter on December 7, 2013, 17:16 GMT

    I was thinking that Tendulkar was just supporting his Mumbai Indians mate when he said during his post-retirement new conference that he will be watching out for how Mitchell Johnson is going to bowl in upcoming as he has improved a lot during last year.

  • anton1234 on December 7, 2013, 16:48 GMT

    IPL had nothing to do with it. Man, Indian fans get on my nerves. It's just that Johnson realised it was now or never and the fact that he had been working with Dennis Lillie very closely. Nothing to do with IPL. Four overs where batsmen are trying to hit out every ball doesn't really teach much for test cricket.

  • on December 7, 2013, 16:07 GMT

    It is simply awesome but rare to see such fearsome fast bowling these days..it is just gr8 for the game and will inspire many kids and younsters to get into fast bowling rather than being a batter; batters dominate in all formates these days, less in test but fast bowling is increasingly becoming rare, and cricket overall is becoming more boring to watch for lack of quality bowling..Mitch took his opportunity to perform in IPL in both hands, and could have entered the team a bit earlier e.g. last ashes series(as i expected). I'm a big fan of him and wish him a long career ahead full of such magical spells..

  • ModernUmpiresPlz on December 7, 2013, 14:45 GMT

    @Jits I like to think that Mitchell Johnson resurrected Mitchell Johnson's career, rather than the IPL. I've seen a lot of Indian fans try and lay claim to his success but I truly hope you understand why this makes more sense.

  • ketaann on December 7, 2013, 14:36 GMT

    It one of the best performance by mitch. This ashes will be turnaround in his career. Hope he will perform same against sa as well.

  • Jits_SRTian on December 7, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    IPL played a huge role in resurrecting his career. Time the Aussies acknowledge it, although it really doesn't matter. From a Mumbai Mitch supporter

  • on December 7, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    It is 11:33pm on Saturday night and I have been home from Adelaide Oval for more than Five hours and I still cannot stop talking about one of the greatest displays of pace bowling that I have ever seen if not most of the crowd that was there today.

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    The WACA game is going to be entertaining... I sense some of the English players will be mentally scarred for a long time. I predicted to my friends that this would be a series for Mitch, Clarke and Warner...looking like a good forecast.

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    i think it was mentioned by Tendulkar to watch out for Mitchell Johnson during his post retirement press conference. It was one of the greatest fast bowling spell of two overs i hv seen in a test match. hope he continues to bowl this way, only in test matches u can see such performances.

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Well bowled mate..keep it up

  • Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on December 7, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    That was great fast bowling, It was a privilege to watch a spell of fast bowling that will be remembered for a long long time. Congrats Mitch you have deserved it.

  • on December 7, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    One of the funniest things to witness was Johnson coming on to bowl, the Barmy Army start up their derogatory song about the quality of his bowling and he cleans up the English skipper. Song stops and was never heard again. Loved it.

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on December 7, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    few people questioned the timing of india vs oz series, few said that was useless series but johnson used that series as a comeback series to oz team and performing very well.

  • on December 7, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    one who can bowl well in India can be destructive on bowler friendly pitches

  • disco_bob on December 7, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    You have to take your hat off to Mitch, he has handled himself with great poise and dignity. Mercilessly pilloried by pillocks, he found the perfect sledge for Anderson, a simple silence, and to Broad's tiresome ploys he simply thanked him, and it was a genuine thanks too not sarcastic. After bowling throat balls at the Gabba, he shows his new found mastery with fearsome pace bowling in Adelaide. And he has not lost his humility at all.

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  • disco_bob on December 7, 2013, 11:34 GMT

    You have to take your hat off to Mitch, he has handled himself with great poise and dignity. Mercilessly pilloried by pillocks, he found the perfect sledge for Anderson, a simple silence, and to Broad's tiresome ploys he simply thanked him, and it was a genuine thanks too not sarcastic. After bowling throat balls at the Gabba, he shows his new found mastery with fearsome pace bowling in Adelaide. And he has not lost his humility at all.

  • on December 7, 2013, 11:40 GMT

    one who can bowl well in India can be destructive on bowler friendly pitches

  • ODI_BestFormOfCricket on December 7, 2013, 11:44 GMT

    few people questioned the timing of india vs oz series, few said that was useless series but johnson used that series as a comeback series to oz team and performing very well.

  • on December 7, 2013, 11:57 GMT

    One of the funniest things to witness was Johnson coming on to bowl, the Barmy Army start up their derogatory song about the quality of his bowling and he cleans up the English skipper. Song stops and was never heard again. Loved it.

  • Not_Another_Keybored_Expert on December 7, 2013, 11:58 GMT

    That was great fast bowling, It was a privilege to watch a spell of fast bowling that will be remembered for a long long time. Congrats Mitch you have deserved it.

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:31 GMT

    Well bowled mate..keep it up

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:46 GMT

    i think it was mentioned by Tendulkar to watch out for Mitchell Johnson during his post retirement press conference. It was one of the greatest fast bowling spell of two overs i hv seen in a test match. hope he continues to bowl this way, only in test matches u can see such performances.

  • on December 7, 2013, 12:47 GMT

    The WACA game is going to be entertaining... I sense some of the English players will be mentally scarred for a long time. I predicted to my friends that this would be a series for Mitch, Clarke and Warner...looking like a good forecast.

  • on December 7, 2013, 13:04 GMT

    It is 11:33pm on Saturday night and I have been home from Adelaide Oval for more than Five hours and I still cannot stop talking about one of the greatest displays of pace bowling that I have ever seen if not most of the crowd that was there today.

  • Jits_SRTian on December 7, 2013, 14:27 GMT

    IPL played a huge role in resurrecting his career. Time the Aussies acknowledge it, although it really doesn't matter. From a Mumbai Mitch supporter