Mitchell Johnson seeks Lord’s redemption

Mitchell Johnson returns to the scene of his greatest failure on Thursday, looking to square the ledger as Australia attempt to level the Ashes series.

Johnson was crowned ICC Cricketer of the Year in 2009 but, just as memorable that year, was his Lord’s lambasting.

The left-armer came unstuck on cricket’s most famous slope, conceding match figures of 3-200 as England broke through for their first Ashes win at the venue in 75 years.

Even the most congenial of English fans at the home of cricket taunted Johnson’s lack of control.

The 33-year-old remodelled his action and rebuilt his confidence, famously taking 37 wickets in the 2013-14 series.

The express paceman was far less threatening on a docile deck in Cardiff, where England cruised to a 169-run win in the 2015 Ashes opener.

Yet the Australian camp is quietly confident Johnson will be more effective at Lord’s.

“He’s swinging the ball and bowling quickly,” Pat Cummins said.

“I’m sure that Lord’s (pitch) with a bit more in it, he’s going to be super dangerous.

“I think it’s always a pretty good wicket.”

Cummins suggested the tourists have already picked themselves up after being belted inside four days, with the fast bowling cartel leading the way.

“He (Johnson) overtook Craig McDermott’s Test wicket tally during the week, so he’s our new bowling coach as well, we’ve decided,” Cummins laughed.

Johnson’s responsibilities as the side’s spearhead will be amplified in London if Mitchell Starc is unable to play.

Starc snared seven wickets in Cardiff, but injured his ankle on day one and was racing the clock to be fit for the second Test.

“He was certainly in a lot of pain a couple of days ago, but the last few days he says it’s been feeling a lot better,” Cummins said.

“He’s got a couple more days of resting then we’ll see how he goes.

“But he was pretty upbeat when I spoke to him.”

Australia will have light sessions on Tuesday and Wednesday, with the bowlers on limited duties due to the short turnaround between Tests.

Peter Siddle will replace Starc if the left-armer is unable to prove his fitness this week.

The other question regarding the XI is whether selectors axe incumbent allrounder Shane Watson and promote Mitch Marsh.

No matter what the side is, all eyes will be on Johnson when play starts.

“He’s a class bowler. If he gets it right, he can certainly run through sides,” coach Darren Lehmann said.

“He’s travelling ok.”

As for the 2009 Test, it’s something Johnson has rewatched but certainly moved on from.

“It’s just looking more at bowling action, to see what the difference was from then to now,” he said in the lead-up to the first Test.

“It doesn’t get me angry – it just frustrates me.”


* 8-272 Clarrie Grimmett, 1930

* 3-200 Mitchell Johnson, 2009

* 3-198 Tim Wall, 1930.

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