This winter England were annihilated 5-0 by Australia in The Ashes down under. Australia were dominant in all areas but one of the main reasons for their victory was the form of paceman Mitchell Johnson who used his pace and aggression to blow away much of England's batting resistance.
Johnson is now concentrating on South Africa as Australia embark on a three match series that they hope will see them continue their recent form.
Previously Johnson had been inconsistent with his performances and had been ridiculed by some supporters for his erratic bowling. However, his form against England seems to have seen him turn a corner as he consistently bowled spells of high quality. Despite that I still had my doubts that his form could continue when he reached Africa.
However, Australia's first test victory over South Africa at Centurion witnessed Johnson simply blow away a batting line-up that is considered one of the best in the world. His hostile and accurate bowling secured Johnson his best test figures of 12 for 127 as Australia won by 281 runs to inflict a crushing victory on the world number one side at a ground that is considered a fortress for the home side.
Johnson's figures were the best by any bowler in Tests at Centurion. His first innings figures were 7-68 followed by second innings figures of 5-59.
Is there a more feared bowler in world cricket at the moment?
Johnson looks to have overcome whatever demons blighted his career and now, at 32 years of age, looks to be one of the most feared bowlers in Test cricket. Some of his deliveries were brutal particularly those to Hashim Amla, Ryan Mclaren and Faf Du Plessis. Those watching in the South African changing room would not be keen to walk out to face Johnson when he is one of those moods and they could be forgiven for thinking that.
The South Africans will be scarred by the manner of their defeat at Centurion and I don't think their wounds can be easily healed.
In such a short three test series South Africa will need to strike back in the second test starting on Thursday in Port Elizabeth. With Johnson in this mood I doubt whether South Africa can turn their fortunes around in such a short period of time and Johnson looks capable of firing Australia to back to back series victories which would have been unthinkable twelve months ago.
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