Australian bowling coach Craig McDermott had a chilling warning for England yesterday — Mitchell Johnson can go even faster on his home ground in Perth.
The fearsome left-arm paceman grabbed his second consecutive man-of-the-match award after a thumping win in Adelaide on Monday as the home side took a 2-0 lead in the five-Test series.
If Australia win the third Test starting in Perth on Friday, they will reclaim the Ashes they lost in 2009 with Johnson tipped to take it to another level at a ground where he has claimed 36 wickets at an average of under 20.
The imposing quick, who already has 17 wickets in this series at 12.70, has bowled at speeds above 150 kph (93 mph) and playing in his home Test should provide even more pace, McDermott said.
“I’d like to see — at his home ground, being in front of his adopted state, Western Australia — what the adrenaline does to his pace,” McDermott told reporters. “Not forgetting that it’s not all about speed.
It’s about making sure that the ball is in the right spot and that is what Mitchell has done since his return to international cricket, both in the shorter form and in Test match cricket.
“He has been able to bowl good line or length, mixed up with some very good short-pitched bowling.” McDermott forecast more sustained short-pitched bowling at England, but the Test great stopped short of describing the tourist’s batsmen as being fragile against Johnson.
“I’m sure they think about it a fair bit. A bloke coming at you at 150 kph or 155 kph, with a slinging action, is not a lot of fun let me tell you,” he said.
Australia coach Darren Lehmann, who has helped mastermind Australia’s turnaround after their 3-0 series loss in England earlier this year, said his key task was to keep the 32-year-old firing on all cylinders.
“He’s been impressive. He’s confident. Our challenge is to keep him going and bowling that way. It’s exciting for Test match cricket,” Lehmann said.
“It’s exciting to see bowlers bowl fast, or spinners turn it square. You’ve got to adapt and improve your technique. It’s always exciting to see guys bowl at those speeds.”