One appeal could give Johnson 300
AUSSIE firebrand Mitchell Johnson is one wicket away from joining an elite club after ripping through the England line- up at Lord’s.
With one more wicket, Johnson will join Shane Warne, Glenn McGrath, Dennis Lillee and Brett Lee with 300 Test wickets.
As the left- armer champs at the bit on 299 for the next nine days, Australian captain Michael Clarke has revealed he made a conscious decision at Lord’s to let Johnson off the leash and revert to the attack- dog tactics that decimated England 5- 0 in the 2013- 14 Down Under Ashes summer.
Left- armer Johnson tore open mental scars in the England top order with six wickets across both innings at Lord’s, levelling the series.
Johnson bowled no more than four overs in a row all match, and as England crumbled to be all out for 103 on the fourth and final day of the second Test, he was given a licence to destroy with three and even twoover raids.
“I think I used him a little bit better in this Test than I did in Cardiff,” Clarke said.
“The whole attack deserves credit because the way they bowled allows me to use Mitchell the way I did in this Test match.”
During the Cardiff slump, it was obvious from day one that Australia was off the boil.
Clarke said he could tell before a ball was even bowled at Lord’s that his senior core led by Johnson was ready to breathe fire.
“I always look at training,’’ he said. ‘‘ I can tell before a ball is bowled in the game how I think we’re going to go and the boys were switched on.
“I sensed that hunger, from the senior players in particular.
“They lead that and the younger players, they’ve got that enthusiasm and hunger anyway because they want to get out there and play.
“But I sensed that hunger for success from the senior players and we’re going to need that if we want to continue to have success in this series.”
Johnson and fellow pace aces Josh Hazlewood and Mitchell Starc now get the chance to put their feet up in London, exempt from Australia’s tour match against Derbyshire starting later this week.
Coach Darren Lehmann said the second Test was proof that Johnson’s 37wicket Ashes summer of 2013- 14 was no flash in the pan.
“He was brilliant,” said Lehmann. “He bowled fast.
‘‘ He’s had some difficult times in England in the past but he’s a different Mitchell Johnson you see playing for Australia now.”
This was a dead wicket where England only managed to take 10 wickets for the match, yet Australia’s arsenal was able to dominate.
“Our whole bowling group were fantastic, even ‘ Mitch’ Marsh,” Lehmann said.
“And I thought Nathan Lyon bowled beautifully as well on the final day and in the first innings.’’
SPEED DEMON: Australia’s Mitchell Johnson appeals on the fourth day of the second Ashes Test against England at Lord’s. Picture: KIRSTY WIGGLESWORTH