Moustachioed and fired-up, Johnson spits venom

2014-02-14 00:00

MOUSTACHIOED Australian Mitchell Johnson yesterday combined fiery bowling and a filthy tongue as he set about the South African batsmen at SuperSport Park.

Having promised he would have South Africa’s vaunted batting attack on the hop, he was as good as his word.

In his very first over, a scorching ball that reared up like a spitting cobra had Proteas captain Graeme Smith out.

Smith was trying to get out of the way when the ball clipped the edge of his bat and was caught by Shaun Marsh.

Then, Johnson got Alviro Petersen to play a poor shot at a ball outside off-stump and get caught.

But it was the ball with which he dismissed Faf du Plessis that caused the most comment.

Johnson’s fastest ball of the day — a thundering 151 km/h — caught the shoulder of the bat and flew into Aussie captain Michael Clarke’s hands.

The fired-up Johnson let the batsmen know just what he thought of them, running up to let fly after almost every ball.

A tweet, which could not be verified, alleged he sent Du Plessis off with the words: “F*** off, you p***y”.

He ended the day with figures of four for 51, having been three for five at one stage.

Johnson said he won’t let the level of intimidation slip.

“I’ll keep bowling short balls, and I think what happened before [he broke Smith’s hand in 2009] was in the back of his mind.

“The ball that got Faf surprised me as well,” he admitted.

But asked if he saw fear in the eyes of the South African bowlers, as had been said of the English earlier in the season, he said, “No, I never really saw it. They are all professionals and play regularly against fast bowlers.”

• The Australian players wore black armbands yesterday in honour of 11-year-old Luke Batty, who was beaten and stabbed to death by his father at a cricket practice in Melbourne on Wednesday.

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