Greats ponder the Johnson effect

2014-02-15 00:00

CENTURION — Right from the start of the first cricket Test match between the two nations Aussie speedster bowler Mitchell Johnson caused chaos amongst the South African batsmen with his pace and aggression.

It was no surprise that the seven wickets he took for 68 runs were a psychological blow to the Proteas.

Former South African great, pace bowler Makhaya Ntini, who took the most Test wickets at SuperSport Park (54 in 10 Tests) said Johnson’s success should also be ascribed to the excellent manner in which he was used by his captain, Michael Clarke.

“He never had him bowling more than four overs during a session and for that reason he was always fresh when he took the ball. He was able to give his all,” said Ntini.

“The batsmen also find it difficult to get used to his slinging action, especially when you face him for the first time. It is mainly the lefthanders who struggle against him because he bowls wide from the wicket and that is an area of attack that they are not used to.

“Everyone struggled to see the short ball in time. Added to that is that he bowls it from chest height,” added Ntini.

Michael Holding, the once feared West Indian bowler, who was known as the Whispering Death, said it was without doubt a world-class performance.

“You must know what it does to a team, who are sitting in the change-rooms and then see their captain being bowled.

“Graeme Smith is certainly not a Mickey Mouse batsman and one of the best in the world. But he was totally defenceless against Johnson.”

Former England batsman Kevin Pietersen tweeted that one’s instinct sometimes causes you to do things that you should not do when someone bowls to you as quick as Johnson. “Speed causes indecision! And that is the difference between 140 km/h and 150 km/h.”

Two former Australian pace bowlers, Brett Lee and Shaun Tait, told the Daily Telegraph that South Africans will not admit it that they are terrified of Johnson.

“The fear is written on their foreheads,” said Tait.

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