Ready to rip the joint on green grass like home Johnson eyes up double milestone
MITCHELL Johnson may be one of the most herculean fast bowlers that’s ever been, yet England are still looking to roll out the green carpet for him to hunt down his 300th career victim during the Test match at Edgbaston.
You’d think it might be a bad idea to give a bloke who took 37 wickets last Ashes series a leg up in the third Test, but at least a portion of the 9mm of grass on the Birmingham surface is likely to remain at the request of a panicked England.
Lights used to cultivate cannabis have even been brought in from the West Midlands Police Department to accentuate the pace and bounce in the wicket, but with Johnson able to fire on even the flattest of pitches the hosts’ plans could go up in smoke.
Johnson is just one wicket and one run from the double of taking 300 Test wickets and making 2000 Test runs – a feat accomplished by just six fast bowlers before him.
Former Australian bowl- ers Dennis Lillee, Glenn McGrath and Brett Lee are among those already in the 300 club.
Skipper Michael Clarke has described Johnson as perhaps the best overall athlete that cricket has seen.
“I’ve always said he’s as gifted an athlete as I’ve played with,” Clarke said.
“I’ve been lucky enough to play with some really fit quicks – you think of Brett Lee, Andy Bichel, Glenn McGrath.
“These guys worked exceptionally hard in the gym to stay healthy and Mitch is as fit, if not fitter, than those blokes put together.
“Hence why he’s been able to play for such a long period of time, have consistent success and bowl at that pace.”
Tripping over a ball and twisting an ankle, as McGrath did at Edgbaston in the turning point of 2005, is unlikely to happen to Johnson.
“Bat, bowl, field, give him a footy, put him in a boxing ring, have a race against him ( Johnson can do it all),” Clarke said.
“He takes some unbelievable catches, gets some unbelievable run outs, scores Test hundreds and bowls like a genius.”
Clarke likened the amount of grass on the Edgbaston wicket to “a Shield game at the Gabba”.
BAND OF BOWLERS: Meet Australia’s No. 1 boy band when it comes to cricket. They are the fearsome five- man fast- bowling cartel currently taking the English charts – and batsmen — by storm, otherwise known as The Backseat Boys. On the Australian cricket team bus these five men hold exclusive rights over the back row, ( from left) Josh “Hoff” Hazlewood, Mitchell “MJ” Johnson, Peter “P Siddy” Siddle, young sensation Patty Cummins and Mitchell “The Star” Starc.