Australia in SA
Proteas don't fear Johnson
Morné Morkel (Gallo Images)
Cape Town - While admitting it is a big challenge, the Proteas aren't living in fear of facing Australian quick Mitchell Johnson, fast bowler Morné Morkel has said.Sign up for Sport24's Morning Glory/Super Rugby/Soccer newsletters!
Johnson's 150km/h thunderbolts had the Proteas at sea in the first Test in Centurion as his match figures of 12-127 helped the visitors to a 281-run win.
"He is bowling really well and arrived here with a lot of confidence after his good performance against England in the Ashes. It is a big challenge (to face him) but I wouldn't say that we fear him," Morkel told Die Burger's website.
The second Test starts in Port Elizabeth on Thursday and although Johnson will remain the biggest danger to South Africa's hopes of getting back into the three-match series, batsmen should be able to trust the bounce in Port Elizabeth, according to Dave Emslie, chief executive of the local Warriors franchise.
"The ground staff have been working on the Test pitch for months and I expect it will be a good one for Test cricket," Emslie told AFP
Although Port Elizabeth has a reputation for producing low and slow surfaces, Emslie said that was a "myth" that had been disproved by results in first-class cricket in recent years.
"If you look at matches that have been played here in the past three or four seasons, you will see that myth has been buried years ago.
"What I do expect, though, is a pitch with some pace and bounce, which may help the seamers a little early on."
Morkel expects the pitch to be a bit slower than the one in Centurion but conceded Johnson will still be a threat.
"Look, I don't think the slower pitch will make a big difference. The guy bowls at 150km/h, you know. But I don't think it's good for us to focus too much on (only) him."