Johnson chants take pressure off others

Mitchell Johnson has earned the praise of coach Darren Lehmann for soaking up the full attention of liquored-up locals during the Ashes.

During the 2009 series, Johnson became the chief target of England fans, who routinely taunted the left-armer about his lack of control.

The 33-year-old remains firmly in their sights, as was the case with Stuart Broad when he toured Australia in 2013-14.

Johnson’s reception in the first two Tests was reasonably cordial, especially at Lord’s, where he snagged six wickets in Australia’s 405-run win.

However, the left-armer was a lightning rod for mock applause and crabby chants every time he touched the Dukes at Edgbaston.

“It’s been entertaining, to be perfectly honest, and Mitchell has handled it really well,” Lehmann told radio station FIVEaa.

“He’s taken all the pressure off the other players basically and they keep giving it to him.”

The atmosphere during the third and final day of the third Test resembled a football match.

The sell-out crowd was at its loudest during Johnson’s last over.

The express paceman tried to have some fun with them, aborting his final run-up then letting the ball rip from alongside the umpire.

“He pulled up short a couple of times, bowled a long ball just to wind them up a little bit,” Lehmann said.

“Credit to him, he’s handled it all brilliantly.”

Earlier in the game, Johnson snared his 300th and 301st Test wickets with a pair of searing bouncers in the space of three deliveries.

Peter Nevill, who snaffled the catches to dismiss Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes in that over on day two, admitted keeping to Johnson was a unique experience.

“When he’s got his tail up there’s not many that are more ferocious, or bowl as fast,” Nevill said.

“Mitchell Johnson in full flight is just at a different level to anything I’ve seen.”

Meanwhile, Lehmann suggested the form of England openers Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth was cause for confidence as his side attempt to square the series in Nottingham.

“We’ve got some pressure on their batters, with Lyth and Cook struggling,” he said.

“Now we’ve just got to continue that on and get the ball in the right areas more often.”

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