Johnson 'emotional' after dispelling doubts
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