Cricket

Johnson has 'heart of gold'

2012-12-28 10:18
Mitchell Johnson (Getty)

Melbourne - Sri Lanka's bruised batsmen might care to disagree, but Mitchell Johnson cares about the well-being of his victims off the pitch, according to Australia captain Michael Clarke.

The mercurial paceman was justly named man-of-the-match on Friday for his wrecking ball performance in Australia's innings and 201-run victory at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that gave the hosts an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.

Johnson scored an unbeaten 92 and took six wickets, but his venomous short-pitched bowling left its mark on Sri Lanka, breaking the thumb of wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene and the forefinger of Kumar Sangakkara, who will play no further part in the series.

"I think the other side that a lot of people don't get to see of Mitch is that on the field, he is as aggressive as anybody, but he's the first guy today(Friday) to walk into the change-room and make sure everything's okay with Sangakkara," Clarke told reporters.

"I think a lot of people don't get to see that side.

"He will fight hard, there's no doubt about it, and wants to have success for Australia and help us win, but off the field he's the first guy to go and make sure in this instance Kumar's OK."

Johnson's outstanding return, having been dumped for the first test victory in Hobart, leaves Clarke and his fellow selectors with a dilemma ahead of the dead rubber test in Sydney starting on Jan. 3.

Clarke said paceman Mitchell Starc, who was controversially rested for the MCG test despite being fit and in-form, would bowl in Sydney, meaning a battle for the remaining pace bowling places on a wicket traditionally conducive to spin.

"If Mitchell Johnson performed the way he did in this test match, it's going to be very hard to leave him out," Clarke said.

Johnson missed a year of cricket through injury and watched as Australia's pace attack of Ben Hilfenhaus, Peter Siddle and James Pattinson routed India during their tour the previous summer.

The tattooed left-armer said he had never lost faith while out in the international wilderness and put his hand up to become an all-rounder, with Shane Watson set to miss the Sydney test with a calf strain.

"I think I can become an all-rounder, I've always enjoyed my batting, it's just being consistent with it," the 31-year-old said.

"If I can take what I did out there today and yesterday into the future and be consistent with it, I think I could become a good all-rounder. Time will tell."

With pace spearhead Siddle likely to be retained, Jackson Bird appears set to miss out on the final test in Sydney despite an impressive four wickets on debut.

Clarke paid tribute to the 26-year-old, who slotted into the team like a seasoned veteran and removed Sri Lanka captain Mahela Jayawardene for a duck and middle order batsman Thilan Samaraweera for one in quick succession in the second innings to hasten Sri Lanka's demise.

"His control with the new ball is an area I think we've been looking for," Clarke said.

"I think he filled that role of (injured) Ben Hilfenhaus. Be able to swing the new ball away from the right-hander and then take it across the left-hander off the wicket is a great strength.

"Bird played a huge part in Mitch's success in the first innings to be able to build pressure and it allows a bowler like Mitch to attack."

NEXT ON SPORT24X

Zimbabwe skittled out

2014-10-25 14:00

 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
Live Video Streaming
Video Highlights
Sport Talk

 

Get fit on a budget

It’s time to throw the “I can’t afford to exercise” excuse out the window.

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Tips for paddling your first Dusi
Climbing the world’s largest stone arch
Awesome extreme sports people
Watch: 2015 Absa Cape Epic route
 
 
Men
Women
Love 2 Meet
English Premiership flutter

Take Sport24's "expert" tips at your peril...

Featured

Got something you'd like to get off your chest? Got a burning desire to air an opinion? If so, be sure to sign-up on Sport24's FORUM!

Latest blogs
Vote

Which cricketer is currently of most value to the Proteas' Test team?

Twitter Follow Sport24 on Twitter

Facebook "Like" Sport24's Facebook page

Newsletters Sign up for the Morning Glory, Super 15 and Soccer newsletters

WIN Enter and win with Sport24!

Mobile Sport24 on your mobile phone - WAP, alerts, downloads, services

Forum Have your Say on Sport24's brand new Forum!

BlackBerry Stay in the loop on your BlackBerry

iPhone Latest Sport24 news on your iPhone

RSS Feeds Sport news delivered really simply.

Blogs Yes your opinion counts. Get it out there

 
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.