Johnson up for crowd taunts

2013-09-10 20:00
Mitchell Johnson (AFP)

Birmingham - Australia's Adam Voges has insisted any spectators trying to taunt Mitchell Johnson during the third one-day international at Edgbaston on Wednesday will only help the fast bowler.

Left-arm quick Johnson has become something of a figure of fun for England fans after several erratic performances against Australia's arch-rivals where he had struggled to maintain a disciplined line and length.

Indeed the now 31-year-old Johnson admitted the crowd barbs were getting to him during Australia's last tour of England in 2009.

Johnson wasn't selected for the Ashes leg of the current tour, where Australia lost a five-match Test series 3-0.

But he looked to be getting back to his best when taking an economical two wickets for 36 runs in 10 overs during Australia's 88-run win against England in the second one-day international at Old Trafford on Sunday, a result that put the tourists 1-0 up in the five-match series following Friday's washout in Leeds.

That didn't stop Johnson being on the receiving end of a few more jeers.

Indeed the over in which he took his two wickets summed up much of his career, containing as it did three wides, a short ball that Michael Carberry obligingly hit straight to backward point and a vicious, steeply-rising, delivery that had Jonathan Trott caught behind for a duck

"Facing him in the nets and watching him over these last few games, his pace is right up," Voges told reporters at Edgbaston on Tuesday.

"He's bowling fast, swinging the ball and making life for England's top order tough work.

"I know there's been a lot of talk about Mitch possibly playing in the (return Ashes) series. He's doing everything right at the moment."

Turning to Johnson's relationship with British cricket fans, the experienced Voges, who has played for three English counties including a spell with Middlesex this season, said: "The crowd don't miss him, do they? Every opportunity they get, even when we were up in Scotland they didn't miss him up there either.

"But I actually think he relishes it.

"He's been outstanding. When you're bowling 90mph-plus and swinging the ball, I think that's a challenge for any batsman -- no matter who you are.

"If he can do that consistently throughout this series, then I hope that will go a long way towards us winning it."

Tuesday's match will see Australia playing their first fixture in Birmingham since a disappointing Champions Trophy campaign overshadowed by the ban imposed on David Warner for punching England's Joe Root in the city's Walkabout Bar following a loss to arch-rivals England.

"We didn't have quite the Champions Trophy campaign we would have liked to have -- particularly the game here against England, when we didn't play well at all," said 33-year-old spin-bowling all-rounder Voges.

England have come under fire for resting five leading players from the one-day series, including captain Alastair Cook, batsman Ian Bell and striker bowler James Anderson, following their Ashes exertions.

"They've had a big summer, with the New Zealand series, Champions Trophy and then a full Ashes. You can understand it," Voges said.

"Playing a fair bit of county cricket, I know the guys who have come into this squad and I know they're good players."

Read more on:    mitchell johnson  |  cricket

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