Monday, September 7, 2009

Mitch likes what he sees of Lee

Mitchell Johnson said fellow Australia quick Brett Lee was determined to put his Ashes disappointment behind him.
Lee, Australia's most experienced bowler on this tour, missed the whole of England's 2-1 Ashes series success with a side injury.

But the 32-year-old did his best to make up for lost time by roaring in at Lord's here yesterday, taking a tidy two wickets for 22 runs and wrapping up the game by dismissing Paul Collingwood as Australia won by 39 runs to go 2-0 up in the seven-match series.

After seeing Lee several times top the 90mph mark, Johnson said: "He's bowling very well, he's bowling fast.

"He's fired up. He missed the Test series and he's looking to go out there and bowl his best and I think he's definitely at his best at the moment."

Despite Lee's efforts, it was Johnson who won the man-of-the-match award.

His rapid 43 not out, made off just 23 balls, helped propel world champions Australia to a competitive total of 249 for eight.

Together with Nathan Hauritz, he added an unbroken 41 for the ninth wicket after Australia were in danger of being bowled out inside their alloted 50 overs at 208 for eight.

Left-arm quick Johnson then took two for 50 in nine overs.

But it was his batting that pleased him most. "It was great to get a few runs," he said. "I just go out there and when I get a chance I swing as hard as I can."

England captain Andrew Strauss added: "Johnson's a very clean striker of the ball, and it came off.

"He played well, maybe we didn't bowl as well as we could have at him but we're splitting hairs there a little bit because 249 was still very chaseable."

But Johnson said Australia's ability to seize the initiative had been vital in both this match and Friday's four-run series-opening win at the Oval.

"I think we've won the key moments during these first two one-dayers," the paceman explained. "It got a bit tight in the first one-dayer and they started off well here with the bat and we pulled them back a bit.

"I think with the energy in the field we have, we are definitely winning those key moments."

Looking ahead to Wednesday's third match in Southampton, Johnson said Australia were determined to finish their tour of England with a flourish following their Ashes heartache.

"I guess after the Ashes we wanted to do well in this one-day series and we've started off really well. Hopefully if all goes to plan we can notch up a win.

England's second Test win at Lord's saw Johnson given a hard time by home fans as he struggled so badly with the ball he missed the cut strip on a couple of occasions.

But Johnson said he was now relishing his inter-action with English crowds.

"I'm enjoying it, I probably took it a little too seriously during the first two Tests.

"After that I've got involved a little more and tried to be a little more cheeky," he added.

"You are going to cop a little here and there but you also get a bit of support as well. I've just got to have fun when I'm out there and worry about what we're doing.
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