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Ashes: Johnson welcomes crowd abuse; says he takes it as a compliment

Nottingham: Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has insisted he is relishing the role of being the man English crowds love to hate.

Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson doffs his cap after receiving a standing ovation from England fans for his worst-ever bowling figures of 0-111 during the first Ashes Test last month. Pic/Getty Images
Australia pacer Mitchell Johnson doffs his cap after receiving a standing ovation from England fans for his worst-ever bowling figures of 0-111 during the first Ashes Test last month. Pic/Getty Images 

Johnson was subjected to prolonged vocal abuse as England won the third Ashes Test by eight wickets inside three days at Birmingham's Edgbaston ground to take a 2-1 lead in the five-match series.

While it may not have been quite as vicious as during England's 2009 series win, when Johnson had to cope with chants about his family as well as a derogatory song which mocks him for bowling left and right, it was certainly sustained and reached something of a crescendo on Friday's final day at Edgbaston.

Now Johnson is bracing himself for more of the same at Nottingham's Trent Bridge, where the fourth Test starts on Thursday.

But at the age of 33, the left-arm paceman regards the barracking as a "compliment" and said the way in which he had stopped his run and then bowled from beside the umpire on Friday were his way of responding to the taunts, rather than a sign that spectators had got to him.

"I get amongst it a bit more now," Johnson told travelling Australian media here yesterday.

"When the whole crowd is cheering my name at the end of a game — when they (England) have just won — you have to take that as a compliment ... where I did stop in my run-up was deliberate to try and have a bit of fun with the crowd."

Johnson added: "I definitely feel like I can take the brunt of it and I take the focus away from the other guys and I've really embraced that role.

"When you're walking with your family in the street, I think it's a bit overboard. But on the field, I think that's fair game ... I'm all for it."

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