In a statement sure to strike fear among England’s batsman, Australian paceman Peter Siddle has predicted Ashes terror Mitchell Johnson will outdo his heroics of two years ago.
Johnson famously earned man-of-the-series honours for his extraordinary feats in spearheading Australia’s 5-0 series whitewash in 2013-14.
His fearsome barrage of short-pitched bowling defined the series, contributed to star batsman Jonathan Trott walking away from the game after the first Test, and delivered 37 wickets at an average of 13.97 as Johnson announced himself as the world’s premier fast bowler.
They are feats rarely seen before in the Ashes arena – Rodney Hogg, Terry Alderman and Dennis Lillee are the only Australian quicks to have taken more in an Ashes series, although all achieved their highs in a six-Test series.
Incredibly, Siddle feels the English conditions will make him even harder to face.
“I’d probably say he’ll be more (effective),” Siddle said on Tuesday.
“If there’s a bit more swing here, I wouldn’t like to face Mitchell Johnson at 150 and swinging it.
“I faced him the other day and it was swinging around beautifully.
“It’s exciting to know that he’s in a good place, the balls coming out well and you’ve got Mitchell Starc bowling just as quick as him, doing the same thing.
“They’re good little weapons to have at your disposal.”
Johnson hasn’t always enjoyed his time on English soil.
In 2009 the Barmy Army took delight in his erratic bowling at Lord’s, belting out “he bowls to the left, he bowls to the right” as the fast bowler’s confidence plummeted.
But Siddle believes those experiences will all count towards Johnson, and his teammates, being better prepared this time around as Australia look to end a 14-year drought in England.
“We’ve played a lot here, we’ve played against England a lot,” he said.
“We’ve got experience against those guys in these conditions.
“I think in past tours we probably hadn’t had the experience against the opposition and just didn’t perform well enough.”