Nottingham - Australia fast bowler Mitchell
Johnson has insisted he is relishing the role of being the man English crowds
love to hate.
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
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
"I get amongst it a bit more
now," Johnson told travelling Australian media in Nottingham on Tuesday.
"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."
Johnson produced arguably the two most
dramatic deliveries of the entire series in England's first innings at Edgbaston
when he struck twice in three balls to dismiss Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes
with two sharply rising throat balls the England batsmen could only glove
behind to wicketkeeper Peter Nevill.
Yet such hostility was not forthcoming from
Johnson in the rest of the match.
"I don't know. I guess from my point
of view I was just trying to really dry up the runs and I probably just lost
that bit of aggression," Johnson said.
"I don't read into it too much to be
honest. But I think because the ball has been swinging over here a lot more, I
feel like I'm trying to get the ball up there a lot more often anyway.
"I feel like I've bowled a lot fuller
this trip. I've been really happy with the way I've bowled, generally."
In the second innings, Australia captain
Michael Clarke, despite a reputation for 'funky' tactics, opted not to depart
from his usual practice of deploying Johnson as first change until England
needed only 74 more runs chasing a target of just 121.
"I thought to myself I was really keen
to get the new ball, but whatever is best for the team in those situations I'm
happy with," Johnson said.
"I have full trust in those guys,
Starcy (Mitchell Starc) and (Josh) Hazlewood, to do the job but I'm always
prepared to bowl in any position," he added.
An England victory at Trent Bridge would
see them win a fourth consecutive home Ashes series - something they haven't
managed since Australia recorded their first away series win in 1899.
"Hopefully, we can come out here and
win this Test match because, if we don't, we are in big trouble," said