Eighteen months after battering the confidence of English batsmen, Mitchell Johnson has been fine-tuning his preparations for Wednesday’s Ashes opener in Cardiff by peppering his Australian teammates in the nets.
The left-arm quick was the destroyer-in-chief in the 2013-14 series with 37 wickets at 13.97 as Michael Clarke’s side regained the urn with a 5-0 whitewash on home soil.
Johnson will let rip against England this week, but he’s already been wreaking havoc on members of his own side.
“He’s bowling fast and he’s swinging them as well which I think is the biggest thing for Mitch,” Adam Voges said.
“There’s always been genuine pace but when he’s swinging the ball at that pace he’s a different proposition.
“You saw him hit Shaun (Marsh) on the hand. Steve Smith ended up on his backside behind the stumps at one stage.
“He’s as ready to go as he possibly can be. I’m sure he’s going to play a huge part in this series.”
Johnson has a modest record in England and struggled during the 2009 series that resulted in a 2-1 defeat, taking 20 wickets in five Tests.
But Voges doesn’t expect a repeat of those underwhelming displays – especially with his current frame of mind.
“I think Mitch will go into this series extremely confident with what he did in the last Ashes series, and so he should,” he said.
“But at the end of the day it all comes down to how we go on Wednesday when we all walk out there and get started. He has every reason to walk out and feel very, very confident.”
Australia’s bowling coach Craig McDermott believes Johnson has tapered his preparations perfectly for the Ashes following a relatively quiet recent series against the West Indies.
“Everyone who’s been through the World cup and to the IPL in particular took a bit of time to get back into their work,” McDermott said.
“Jonno’s arm path has got a bit better over here, a bit higher and he’s got his seam in a better position, and he’s just got a real spring in his step at the minute.
“That’s good for us and hopefully not good for the Poms.”