Cricket

Mitchell Johnson: One of the great comebacks

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What a transformation. (©GettyImages)
What a transformation. (©GettyImages).

In the 2011 Ashes Mitchell Johnson had one of those disintegrations of technique that makes sport watchable. Watchable in the same manner as a train crash, you don't want to look but you have to. Think Rory McIroy at the Masters. Except Johnson's implosion was, if anything, worse.

A Test match lasts for days. Johnson's breakdown in form was dragged out ball after ball over after over.

To make matters worse cricket is a team game. In a top class bowling unit the ball needs to be kept in the sort of condition that it can find swing and seam movement. Johnson's erratic bowling was making this impossible and consequently ruining things for his teammates.

Things got so bad for Johnson that England's Barmy Army even had a song about his wayward bowling. 'He bowls to the left. He bowls to the right. That Mitchell Johnson his bowling is *****'.

Inevitably Johnson was dropped from the Australian Test squad. He needed to sort his form out. Get his bowling arm straight and upright.

The first clues that he had done this came in last summer's ICC Champions Trophy. Johnson's bowling was once again accurate and quick. There was some suggestion that his form could earn him a place in the Ashes squad, but these came to naught.

Johnson couldn't be denied for long however and, with the Ashes being played back Down Under, he was put back in the side.

Johnson tore through England in the first Test with fast aggressive bowling that was as great to watch as it must have been horrible to face. He finished that Test with nine wickets including 5-42 in the second innings. He also contributed a half century with the bat for good measure.

With the second Test going on Johnson is once again making quick work of the England batsmen delivering balls at pace on length. At the close of play on day three his bowling figures were 7-40.

With the fast bouncy track at Perth to come next its looking like Johnson could be about to lead his nation to reclaim the Ashes in three games. That's quite a turn around. One that is painful for England fans but possibly one of the great sporting comebacks.

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Topics:
Cricket
England cricket
Australia cricket
The Ashes
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