Mitchell Johnson: World Cricket's Bowler of the Month, December 2013

Chris Teale@@chris_tealeFeatured ColumnistJanuary 1, 2014

MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - DECEMBER 28: Mitchell Johnson of Australia celebrates after taking the wicket of Alastair Cook of England during day three of the Fourth Ashes Test Match between Australia and England at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 28, 2013 in Melbourne, Australia.  (Photo by Ryan Pierse/Getty Images)
Ryan Pierse/Getty Images

Mitchell Johnson has confounded his doubters with several superb bowling displays for Australia against England in the month of December.

The Australians have dominated the Ashes series Down Under and now lead 4-0 with one Test to play thanks in large part to Johnson’s dominance with the ball.

He has a psychological edge over England’s batsmen, and this has been reflected in his incredible statistics this month.

In three Tests in December, the 32-year-old has taken 22 wickets at an average of 15.5, with two five-wicket hauls and his second-best bowling figures in an innings included for good measure.

Having been derided when England last toured Australia in 2010/11, Johnson has now risen to become the Baggy Green’s premier fast bowler and will be desperate to help spearhead a whitewash of the tourists when they play in Sydney in early January.

Such was his dominance, Johnson faced little opposition for Bowler of the Month honours, although there were some notable performances from others around the world.

Earlier this month, South African seamer Vernon Philander moved top of the ICC Test rankings for bowlers, displacing team-mate Dale Steyn, who had spent 186 weeks at No. 1.

The 28-year-old was very consistent in South Africa’s recent series against India, taking 10 wickets across both Tests to help the Proteas win 1-0.

A pair of New Zealanders also looked mightily impressive, albeit against a moderate West Indies side in what were favourable conditions for bowling.

Trent Boult took 20 wickets in December’s three-Test series as he spearheaded New Zealand’s bowling attack towards a 2-0 victory on their home turf.

He was ably supported by Tim Southee, who took 18 wickets of his own, as the pair showed a great deal of potency while bowling in tandem.

If they can maintain their form, they will be a strong test for any batsmen across the world.

While these individuals may have performed well, Johnson still stands out, as the left-armer combined swing and high pace to pick up wickets at regular intervals.

December Performance Summary:

FiguresOpponentMatch TypeVenueMatch Dates
7/40; 1/73EnglandTestAdelaideDec. 5-9
2/62; 4/78EnglandTestPerthDec. 13-17
5/63; 3/25EnglandTestMelbourneDec. 26-29

Standout Performance:

Johnson’s best performance came at the Adelaide Oval in the second Ashes Test between Australia and England, as he tore through the tourists’ batting line-up and helped his side accumulate an enormous first-innings lead.

With the crowd roaring his every ball, Johnson took 5-16 in five overs just after lunch to precipitate another English batting collapse and hustle them all out for 172.

The visitors had been teetering at lunch on 117-4, and Johnson’s sustained brilliance with the ball meant the Baggy Green finished the job with a lead of 398 before their second innings.

The 32-year-old was twice on a hat-trick as he removed Stuart Broad and James Anderson first ball, and his hostile swing and pace meant England’s last six batsmen could only accumulate 10 runs between them.

He had started proceedings by bowling England captain Alastair Cook for just three runs, and picked things up straight after lunch when he removed Ben Stokes LBW after Marais Erasmus’ original not-out decision was overturned by the DRS.

Matt Prior then hung his bat outside off stump and edged through to Brad Haddin before Broad was comprehensively bowled first ball.

To finish things off, Johnson then tempted Graeme Swann to swipe at a wide one outside off stump before dismissing Anderson and Monty Panesar to wrap things up quickly.

Australia then built a tremendous lead of 531, to which England could only respond with 312 all out to hand the Baggy Green a 218-run win.

Johnson followed up his seven-wicket display by removing Cook for the second time in the match and was named man of the match for what was an irrepressible spell of bowling.

Outlook for January:

OpponentMatch TypeVenueMatch Dates
EnglandTestSydneyJan. 3-7
EnglandODIMelbourneJan. 12
EnglandODIBrisbaneJan. 17
EnglandODISydneyJan. 19
EnglandODIPerthJan. 24
EnglandODIAdelaideJan. 26
EnglandTwenty20HobartJan. 29
EnglandTwenty20MelbourneJan. 31


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