Johnson explodes into Ashes contention - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Johnson explodes into Ashes contention

By Daniel Brettig 17/09/2006 05:49:52 PM Comments (0)

Mitchell Johnson's hostile four wicket spell against India has significantly enhanced his hopes of a tilt at England in the forthcoming Ashes series, Australian captain Ricky Ponting said.

Left-arm swing merchant Johnson blasted through India's top order, claiming his wickets in eight balls in the rain ruined Malaysian tri-series match.

Ponting said such startling limited overs form would have to count in Ashes calculations because of a schedule bereft of Tests before the England series.

"It doesn't do him any harm, that's for sure, there's been a bit spoken about some of our players in our side with performances in one day cricket for the Ashes, and all they can do is get out there and perform," he said.

"It is the only cricket we can play for a while, so that's how we're going to be judged I guess.

"Mitchell's got everything, he's got pace, he's left arm and he can swing it, so everything's there."

Johnson, 24, fronted a packed media conference filled with talk about his bowling, his career to this point and even his Brett Lee-like celebrations after dismissing Rahul Dravid, Irfan Pathan, Yuvraj Singh and Sachin Tendulkar.

Questioned on where his rapid improvement had come from, after some less impressive international showings earlier this year, Johnson said it was the fruit of time spent hanging around the national side, and also a few tweaking sessions with ex-England and now Australian bowling coach Troy Cooley.

"I think being around the side, you've got Glenn McGrath, Brett Lee, all that experience has helped me a lot to be able to take in all that, go out in the games, and be myself and bowl," he said.

"I've also done a lot with Troy, I'd done work with him in the past, and having him back is really good because I've worked on my run-up, worked on wrist position and just little things.

"I feel like I'm swinging the ball more, I've got my wrist behind the ball really well, and hopefully I'll get the chance to also reverse swing the ball as well."

Nudging 140km/h and gaining movement in both directions, Johnson's 4-11 against India proved his penetrating spell to defeat West Indians Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Brian Lara on Tuesday had not been a one-off.

He said that getting Lara cheaply for the second time in two attempts, after also dismissing him in a tour game for Queensland last year, had been particularly satisfying.

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