James Faulkner's blitz outshone MS Dhoni's century in 3rd ODI, says Mitchell Johnson

Mitchell Johnson said he is enjoying the role of an ‘aggressor’ in the current Australian bowling attack © Getty Images

Oct 20, 2013

Australian pacer Mitchell Johnson on Saturday said James Faulkner’s knock of 64 not out ‘outshone’ Indian captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni’s century in the third One-Day International (ODI), which the tourists won by a margin of four wickets.

Australia lead the seven-match ODI series against India 2-1.

Australia clinched a thrilling win in the third ODI at Mohali on Saturday with Faulkner thrashing India seamer Ishant Sharma for 30 runs in an over to turn the game in the tourists’ favour.

Johnson rated Faulkner’s knock above Dhoni’s and told Board of Control for Cricket in India’s (BCCI) official website, “MS worked the ball around initially. He had an injury as well so it is pretty courageous to keep going. It was an amazing finish that he put on. The helicopter shot came out again, which he is famous for. That’s what you expect from him; the captain stood up at the right time.”

“Unfortunately for him and his team Faulkner outshone him. It was just staggering. We were a little bit nervous, I was the next in to bat and we were hoping that he would go after Ravichandran Ashwin a bit more. But he just couldn’t get a boundary. But then he picked his moment and went for it. That’s how he has always played. So just loved the way he played tonight (Saturday). He won it for us tonight.”

Talking about the conditions in Mohali, the left-arm pacer said, “I did enjoy it. The weather was quite nice it was not as humid and hot as the last two places. The wicket had a little bit more pace in it than Jaipur, so it was quite nice to be able to get the short ones up there again. But it was a bit of a shocker towards the end of the match; one of the best matches that I will be involved in. It has been a crazy day.”

Johnson praised Australia captain George Bailey for using the bowlers intelligently.

Johnson said, “It has been the plan for us at the moment; I try to bowl aggressively. I bowl my short balls in these conditions, so short spells are probably going to work better for me. Looking to try and get into their middle order a bit as well when I am fresh so we can expose them that way. I have really enjoyed the role that I have had over here with the aggressive mindset. So George has done an exceptional job there and I think he has worked his bowlers well.”

Johnson said it was a correct decision by Australia to field first.

“We have sort of got to get through that new-ball period and that’s what they did today. They sort of waited on a little bit; MS came out and took his time and then he cashed in at the end. I guess there is a little bit of the same with our batting innings here tonight as well. It seems to be the way to go at the moment in these conditions, to see the new ball through and then get into the game a little bit, work those singles and twos and then start hitting some of big shots through the end. So obviously with two new balls I guess that is the way that everyone is going on,” Johnson said.

Johnson said bowling fast is not the only thing that he aims, as he wants to swing the ball as well. He said, “It is not everything. I like to swing the ball as well. If I am swinging the ball with pace, that’s even better. I have always enjoyed a challenge over here and I have always said that your slower balls and cutters are very important in these wickets. So I am just using them at the right times. So through that middle period I just mix it up as much as I can and try not to be too predictable; and it paid off today.”

Talking about the short ball strategy against some of the Indian batsmen who are uncomfortable against it, Johnson said, “The way that I think about the short ball is that over here the wicket’s got a little bit uneven bounce, so I reckon it’s a pretty good tool to have the short ball over in these conditions; and I have always said that. You get that variable bounce. We saw in Pune that the wicket was actually a little bit quicker and got through nicely, and then in the last game in Jaipur it was a little bit slower; it was quite hard to get up and even out. Here it was hard, but I think it is effective especially against the Indian players — they probably like to play more off the front foot. Since it’s working, I am going to keep doing it.”

Johnson revealed that his role in this team is to be aggressive and he is enjoying bowling with the likes of Clint McKay and Faulkner.

“We have all got our roles in the team and this is my role, it is to be aggressive. We are all doing our roles and we are all working together, working in partnerships. Clint McKay has an outstanding one-day record and I have really enjoyed bowling with him and through back end as well with Jimmy Faulkner. Having a youngster like that, who is fearless, is very exciting. So everyone just knows their roles and we are enjoying ourselves,” he said.