ENGLAND claims it is not scared of Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson.
But it might end up shaking in its boots if an expected adrenaline hit can push Johnson to even faster speeds during the third Test at the WACA Ground, starting tomorrow.
Johnson destroyed England’s batting line-up in Brisbane and Adelaide, with his 140 to 150km/ h thunderbolts leaving several opponents clearly rattled.
The task is set to get even harder for England at the pace-friendly WACA, where Johnson has thrived in the past.
Three years ago, Johnson snared figures of 6-38 and 3-44 to inspire Australia to a 267-run win over England in Perth.
This series, Johnson has already claimed 17 wickets at an average of 12.7 to fire Australia to a 2-0 lead.
England’s batsmen have been left bruised and battered by Johnson’s short-pitched deliveries, and England coach Andy Flower admits the top order needs to stand up to protect the tail-enders.
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But he rejected claims that his players were scared of Johnson.
“I wouldn’t say scared,” Flower said.
“He’s bowled at good pace but that’s what you expect in Test cricket.
“One thing I would say about playing fast bowling is that our batsmen have to display the combination of skill and determination to bat long periods against it.
“Because if we do expose our lower order, they will struggle against that sort of pace.
“So the responsibility lies with the batsmen in that regard.”
Australia’s bowling coach Craig McDermott sent England a chilling warning by claiming Johnson would bowl even faster in Perth.
“I’d like to see — at his home ground, being in front of his adopted state, Western Australia — what the adrenaline does to his pace,” he said.
“I’m sure they (England’s batters) think about it a fair bit.
“A bloke coming at you at 150km/h or 155km/h, with a slinging action, is not a lot of fun, let me tell you.
“When we played the West Indies, it wasn’t much fun during that golden era either.
“But it’s not all about speed.
“It’s about making sure that the ball is in the right spot and that is what Mitchell has done since his return to international cricket.”
England is expected to recall fit-again paceman Tim Bresnan for the third Test, with spinner Monty Panesar to make way.
Fellow spinner Graeme Swann is under pressure to hold his spot after claiming just four wickets in the first two Tests, but it’s unlikely England will opt for an all-out pace
McDermott said Australia’s trio of quicks — Johnson, Ryan Harris and Peter Siddle — had pulled up fine yesterday following their Adelaide success.
He forecast more sustained short-pitched bowling at England, who haven’t won a Perth Test since 1978.
Flower denied his team had lacked heart this series.