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Wiser Johnson ready to inflict Test pain
By Justin Chadwick and Ben Horne
20:10 AEST Tue Nov 27 2012

Australian quick Mitchell Johnson used sheer pace and swing to terrorise South Africa four years ago.

But if Johnson earns a long-awaited recall for the third Test at the WACA Ground, starting Friday, he will attempt to inflict a similar result by using his new-found smarts rather than his trademark unpredictability.

Pace trio Johnson, Josh Hazlewood and John Hastings were added to Australia's 14-man squad after the gruelling drawn Adelaide Test, in which emerging quick James Pattinson broke down with a summer-ending side strain and Peter Siddle and Ben Hilfenhaus bowled themselves into the ground.

Left-armer Mitchell Starc is the frontrunner to replace Pattinson, but Johnson is also a good chance to land a spot in the XI due to his excellent record at the WACA.

In 2008, Johnson snared career-best figures of 8-61 to help skittle South Africa for 281, with only a world-record fourth-innings performance helping the tourists to a famous win.

Then two years later, Johnson terrorised England on the way to match figures of 9-82 in a big Ashes win.

Johnson's Test career was brought to a sudden halt last November when he succumbed to a serious toe injury.

The 31-year-old was badly out of form at the time, and credits the injury for saving his career.

And after working with his mentor - Australian bowling great Dennis Lillee - over the past year, Johnson feels he has what it takes to once again be a destructive force at Test level - albeit in a different way.

"I had a good chat with him just about how he came back from his injury," Johnson said of Lillee, who recovered from a serious back problem to carve out a famous Test career.

"He was bowling very quick before his injury, and then he came back and became a smarter bowler.

"That's something I've worked on."

Johnson revealed he was out getting takeaway when national selector John Inverarity gave him a call to tell him of his Test recall.

Australia coach Mickey Arthur said he had been impressed by Johnson's progression since making his return from a toe injury.

"I thought Mitchell was outstanding for us in the one-day series in Pakistan," Arthur said.

"He bowled superbly (and was) arguably one of our best bowlers there."


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