A game changer when he’s on his game
Australian fans starved of recent Test success recall with moistened eyes how destructive Mitchell Johnson can be when he’s fulfilling his enormous potential – with both ball and bat.
They hark back to his sublime 2008 spell in Perth when he scythed through South Africa’s vaunted top order to collect 5-2 in the space of 21 balls.
And his effort at the same ground against England two years later when he set up Australia’s previous Ashes victory heading into the 2013-14 summer. Even his clinical maiden Test century against a quality South African attack at Newlands.
But wistfulness turns to wincing when they recount the erratic, confidence-sapping spells such as the one at Lord’s in 2009 that brought about one of the semi-regular hiatuses to his rollercoaster career.
The reappearance of his pace, venom and self-belief during Australia’s 2013 limited-overs tour of India has ignited hometown supporter hopes that the following Ashes series might herald his return to the top.