Johnson hopes to shine in SA

2011-10-21 12:34

Port Elizabeth - Australian left-arm fast bowler Mitchell Johnson hopes to improve on a fine record on South African soil, rather than have a repeat of his recent tour to Sri Lanka where he struggled to make an impact.

Johnson, who made his debut against New Zealand in 2005, turns 30 next month, but he said on Friday he was not ready to give up any time soon.

"I've got a lot of years left in me," he said.

"There was a lot of talk earlier in our camps in Brisbane that I'm approaching 30 and almost over the hill.

"But I'm fit and strong, and I'll keep being positive."

While he came under pressure on Australia's tour to Sri Lanka in August and September, Johnson insisted he had not bowled badly there and was not overly concerned.

He bounced back on Wednesday, taking 3/20 to lead Australia's attack in their 93-run win over the Proteas in the first of three ODIs in Centurion.

"I didn't get the wickets that I wanted, but I thought I bowled well in Sri Lanka," he said.

On Australia's last tour of SA, in 2009, Johnson managed to move the ball in the air and bowled with aggression.

Although the tourists lost the ODI series 3-2, Johnson took wickets in each game, achieving his best return of 4/34 in Cape Town.

"It's totally different now in South Africa as things have changed with different players and maybe even different conditions," he said.

"But I do enjoy bowling here and maybe I can get a bit of confidence out of how I did perform last time."

Once again a key component to Australia's attack in both the ODI and Test series, Johnson made the most of his recent time at home, honing his skills before flying out to join the rest of his teammates in South Africa.

He picked up 5/69 for Western Australia in the fourth innings of a Sheffield Shield game against Tasmania in Perth last week.

"I was happy with the rhythm and the ball swung out there for me a fair bit," he said.

"The wickets [in SA] are probably going to be a little similar [to the Waca], with that early-on seam, so I'm looking forward to that again. I'm confident at the moment."

Impressed by the ODI debuts of fast bowler Pat Cummins and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh, Johnson said he tried to give the youngsters support as he recalled how it felt when he made his debut six years ago.

"I sort of let the boys know that they are not alone," he said.

"I think they did really well in those conditions [in Centurion]. Sitting around waiting on your ODI debut is a little nerve wracking, but they did an exceptional job."