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Johnson continues happy Test return
Greg Buckle
20:28 AEST Fri Dec 28 2012

The greatest test of Mitchell Johnson's new-found mental resolve is expected to come on next year's Ashes tour when some rather unkind barracking from English fans is sure to reach his ears.

However this summer the left-arm quick can focus simply on running in and letting them go, safe in the knowledge that Sri Lanka's batsmen are most uncomfortable with the ball zinging around their ears on Australian pitches.

The once-wayward Johnson has played only two Tests in 2012.

He's taken six wickets on both occasions.

The 31-year-old's performance in the second Test in Melbourne included match figures of 6-79 and breaking one finger and one thumb of opposing batsmen, plus an unbeaten 92 as the home side scored a crushing win by an innings and 201 runs.

After breaking down with a foot injury in November 2011, Johnson said he didn't watch much cricket.

"Having the time off, it freshened me up mentally and physically," the West Australian paceman said on Friday.

"I've always been happy playing for Australia. It just got to the point where I was feeling the pressure.

"You can feel the pressure and start to believe things that are said or outside influences. I've moved past that.

"I'm 31. I've been around the game a long time now and I've matured.

"I just go out there and play my game."

Johnson was reminded of his golden summer of 2009, when he broke South Africa opener Graeme Smith's hand in Sydney in January then repeated the trick two months later in Durban, on the same day he split open the chin of Jacques Kallis.

"Oh yeah Kallis. But he came back on," Johnson said when asked which batsmen he'd put in hospital along with Sri Lanka's Prasanna Jayawardene and Kumar Sangakkara.

"I don't really think I've hit too many blokes.

"In the last couple of days in Hobart the boys went pretty hard at their batters with the short ball and they didn't like it.

"The plan through this Test match was to get up their batters.

"Unfortunately for them they got a few injuries out of it.

"That intimidation factor definitely worked out there today."


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