Having been at the receiving end of some verbal volleys in the Brisbane Test, Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson says that India’s sledging attempt at the Gabba last week backfired against his team.
Australia were in trouble at 247 for six when Johnson came to the crease, still 161 runs behind India’s first-innings total of 408 when the close-in fielders tried to unsettle the burly pacer. But Johnson said that verbal exchanges only made his resolve stronger as he and skipper Steve Smith stitched a 148-run partnership.
“It took my mind off the game, which was a good thing because I wasn’t focused on the scoreboard. I was able to go out there and play my shots. I wanted to play with good intent,” Johnson said.
“I had a bit of a throw down (before play) and it wasn’t quite the session I wanted. Then to go out there and cop it from a few of their boys, it just played into our hands. I was able to play my game and not worry about anything. It’s all part of the game but I think it took them off their game. They went a bit too far maybe,” he added.
Coming in at No.8 in the second Test, Johnson scored a valuable 88 in a match that Australia won by four wickets, giving the hosts a 2-0 lead in the four-match series. The 33-year-old southpaw, who singled out Rohit Sharma as the aggressor of the group, said that the batsman’s dismal form in the match only proved that his plan turned against him.
“I said a few words early and then just let it go after that and just started smiling at Rohit Sharma,” Johnson said. “He seemed to come in a fair bit and had a fair bit to say. I don’t think he had the greatest game and I think maybe he was just a bit frustrated,” he said.
But by his own admission, Johnson welcomes the verbal barrages while batting and detests them when he has the ball in his hand.
“I think when I’m batting I like to get it because it gets me going. Batting wise I don’t think it would’ve affected me. I’ve always enjoyed that side of it,” he said.
“It’s probably just been more the bowling side where the confidence has been a bit low at times and I’ve probably let that stuff affect me. But batting wise I’ve always enjoyed that contest. I want them to come hard and take them off their game,” he concluded.