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Lee is my mentor: Johnson

johnson_and_lee_narrowweb__300x3800.jpgAustralia’s latest pace sensation Mitchell Johnson says some personal mentoring from the new leader of the attack Brett Lee has helped make the Queensland left-armer an instant success at Test level.

Johnson took 2-49 and 2-47 on debut on a flat Gabba track as Australia thrashed Sri Lanka by an innings and 40 runs in the first Test yesterday.

Johnson had been a star with the ball in last month’s one-day series in India, taking 14 wickets at 18.57.

Stepping up to the biggest challenge of all, Test cricket, has presented few problems either for the 26-year-old tearaway from Townsville.

“I thought I went pretty well. I got to bowl with Brett Lee which is pretty exciting for me,” Johnson said today at the team’s Brisbane hotel before travelling to Hobart for Friday’s second Test.

“I got to do that through the one-day cricket, but now to do that in Test-match cricket, it’s a really good moment for me.

“I felt pretty good out there.

“We spoke about bowling together when we were in India.

“He (Lee) has taken me under his wing. We’ve had days when we have just talked about bowling together and as a group.

“It’s just really exciting for me to be able to bowl with him and Stuart Clark at the moment.”

In his first outing as leader of the Australian pace attack after Glenn McGrath’s retirement, Lee took match figures of 8-112 to earn the man-of-the-match award, while Johnson took a major step in realising the promise first hinted at by the great Dennis Lillee when Johnson was a young hopeful.

“Just being out there with the guys in a Test match was really exciting for me,” Johnson enthused.

“At the end we all got a stump each and lifted our arms around each other so it was a pretty proud moment for us all.

“I knew it was going to be tough but state cricket is very tough here.

“It is very tough but it’s very enjoyable and I’m looking forward to playing more.”

Johnson took the new ball for Australia in both innings as Sri Lanka folded for 211 and 300.

But Stuart Clark (2-46 and 2-75) was given the second new ball with Lee on day five.

“I probably wasn’t swinging the ball as much as Ricky (Ponting) and I would have liked. Stuart was the man for the job at that stage,” Johnson said.

“Stuart gets the ball to move around a little bit. I think he was even swinging the ball yesterday so that’s a good sign.

“I’d love to get the new ball when I can and I’m sure he’s the same. It’s not going to be a bad thing if we share it around.

“At times maybe I was a little bit too short here and a little bit wide. But it was my first game so I’m pretty happy with the way things went but consistency is going to be a big thing.”


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