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Johnson


Johnson key to Aussie success in India

Australia's plans to close out their one-day series of India centre on continuing to stifle the home side's powerful middle order.

And the man charged with keeping Suresh Raina, Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni in check is the bowling attack's resident bully, Mitchell Johnson.

Johnson has embraced his role as Australia's aggressor, bowling with pace and utilising the short ball to judiciously to rough up India's big-name middle order.

It's a tactic which has been used to great effect, with interim skipper George Bailey using Johnson for three overs at the top of the inning before holding him back to have a crack until the middle order is exposed.

Johnson has five wickets in the series at 32 runs, but he's dismissed the dangerous Yuvraj in both his innings and Raina once, while making the 26-year-old look desperately uncomfortable amid a barrage of bouncers.

Allrounder Shane Watson and opener Aaron Finch revealed using Johnson to intimidate the likes of Raina and Yuvraj was deliberate - and they're delighted by the success.

"It's definitely a plan. We haven't made any secrets about that and it's been working so far," Finch told AAP.

"I can't see it changing anytime soon.

"(Johnson has) had the wood over Yuvraj as well.

"That's been really pleasing from our point of view.

"Especially when you have guys like Yuvraj and Raina who can take the game away from you pretty quickly."

In the only match Johnson has sat out this tour, the opening Twenty20 in Rajkot, Yuvraj produced a man-of-the-match performance smashing 77 off 35 balls to blast the home side to victory.

In his two ODI innings since, Yuvraj has twice been caught behind fending at Johnson's short ball and registered a golden duck in Mohali and seven in Pune.

"Mitch Johnson provides a big X-factor for us," Watson said on Friday.

"There's a couple of guys who aren't as comfortable against the short ball compared to some of their other players as well.

"... It certainly has been a tactic.

"After seeing what happened in the Twenty20 game in Rajkot, especially Yuvi ... we didn't get our plans exactly right to him and he's an extremely talented player.

"If we give him a chance to get away he certainly hits the ball very sweet.

"And also to Suresh Raina, he's a high-quality, world-class player as well.

"We're very lucky to have Mitch in our team bowling the pace and control that he's got at this point in time.

"It's a huge weapon for us because we know how important their middle order is to their success."

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