Australia vs South Africa: Mitchell Johnson set to return to Test cricket after a year

Mitchell Johnson (left) last played a Test for Australia in November 2011 against South Africa at Johannesburg © Getty images

Perth: Nov 28, 2012

Left-arm pacer Mitchell Johnson is set to return to Test cricket after a gap of almost a year when Australia take on South Africa in the third and final encounter of the series at Perth.

Shane Watson, who is expected to play in the third Test following the injury to his calf muscle, was especially impressed with Johnson’s bowling in the nets.

“Mitch bowled well again with the odd one swinging in, which makes him very difficult to face,” Watson said. “The ball coming back in creates a big challenge,” Watson was quoted as saying by The Herald Sun.

“He’s a tall guy and gets a lot of bounce,” said Watson. “At the WACA there is always a bit of bounce anyway but I’m sure he’ll get a fair bit more bounce than any of the other bowlers we’ve got.”

After being 12th man for the previous two Tests Starc is hopeful the same wicket he played on during the Perth Test last year is rolled out again. India was thrashed in little more than two days.

“For me it’s obviously a nice place to come and bowl,” he said. “You get that extra bit of pace and bounce compared to the SCG, where I’ve played.

“There’s a little it in it for the bowlers but last year was a pretty good cricket wicket, I reckon.

“Hopefully if I get the chance to come out here again I’ll bowl similar to what I did last time.”

With Mitchell Starc expected to play in the Test as well, it will be the first time since Johnson had partnered Doug Bollinger against India more than two years back, that Australia will go into a Test match with two left-arm pacers.