Mitchell Johnson has described how India's cricketers played into his hands by revving him up at the start of his first innings at the Gabba, an innings of 88 that effectively wrested control of the match from India. Johnson was on the receiving end of some chirping when he came to the crease, particularly from Rohit Sharma, but was soon on top after some early boundaries.

Johnson had not scored in his previous three Test innings and he walked out with Australia six down and still 161 behind; by the time he departed, his partnership with Steven Smith had almost put Australia in front. Johnson's batting form also appeared to help him with the ball in India's second innings, when he collected three wickets during a fiery spell early on the third morning.

"The Indian team got me going a bit and I was able to strike a few good ones and get a good partnership with Smithy," Johnson said. "It got us back in the game and it was able to flow on with my bowling.

"I said a few words early and then just let it go after that and just started smiling at Rohit Sharma. He seemed to come in a fair bit, and had a fair bit to say. I don't think he had the greatest game and I think maybe he was just a bit frustrated."

Johnson arrived at the crease having gone wicketless in India's first innings and having just had a disappointing net session before the start of the day's play. But once he got into the rhythm of quick scoring he rattled along to a 37-ball half-century that included eight boundaries, and was not even aware of reaching his fifty until Smith alerted him to it.

"It took my mind off the game which was a good thing because I wasn't focused on the scoreboard," Johnson said. "I was able to go out there and play my shots. I wanted to play with good intent, I had a bit of a throw down and it wasn't quite the session I wanted before the start of play.

"Then to go out there and cop it from a few of their boys, it just played into our hands," he said. "I was able to play my game and not worry about anything. I actually didn't know I had scored 50, I said to Smithy, 'is that my 50?' and he said 'yeah mate'. It was quite embarrassing. It's all part of the game but I think it took them off their game. They went a bit too far maybe."

At times in past years, Johnson has lacked confidence in his own bowling and might have been susceptible to the occasional word from his opponents. However, he said the same had not applied to his batting; even back in his lowest times on the field, chatter from the fielders has tended to fire him up with the bat.

"I've always liked a little bit of verbal on the field," Johnson said. "I think when I'm batting I like to get it because it gets me going. Batting wise I don't think it would've affected me. I've always enjoyed that side of it.

"It's probably just been more the bowling side where the confidence has been a bit low at times and I've probably let that stuff affect me. But batting wise I've always enjoyed that contest. I want them to come hard and take them off their game."

Brydon Coverdale is an assistant editor at ESPNcricinfo. @brydoncoverdale