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Johnson likes three quicks and a spinner // Getty

Johnson weighs in on 'Big Four' debate

England's troubles with the short ball at Trent Bridge has excited Australian fans of a pace quartet this summer

In the right conditions, Mitchell Johnson would love to watch a four-pronged Australian pace attack rip the Ashes out from underneath England.

But the Test great can't see a feasible reason to drop Nathan Lyon.

The efficiency with which South Africa's four quicks took 14 of 20 English wickets in the second Test has renewed talk about the virtues of deploying Mitchell Starc, Josh Hazlewood, James Pattinson and Pat Cummins in tandem for the upcoming series.


Johnson, who famously plundered England for 37 wickets at an average of 13.97 in the 2013-14 Ashes, admitted it was tough to overlook the prospect of the quartet torturing the Poms' struggling top order.

"You've got to go on conditions," Johnson said while promoting the BowlFit app he's developed with fitness expert Jock Campbell.

"It would be nice to see four quicks that bowl 143 plus.

"If you have Pattinson, Cummins, Hazlewood and Starc, it's pretty handy to have an attack like that.

"I know that was always talked about when I played - when you've guys that bowl really quick they all should play together."

Watch Mitch and his mo take 37 English wickets

That said, to unleash Australia's big four pacemen would mean omitting Lyon, a world-class tweaker and the most experienced member of Steve Smith's team.

The 29-year-old is one Test wicket shy of late legend Richie Benaud's 248 scalps and will soon sit behind only Shane Warne (708 wickets) on Australia's all-time spinner list.

On form, Johnson said Lyon couldn't be overlooked.

"I still like three quicks and a spinner," he said.

"Nathan Lyon has done an exceptional job for Australia over time and he's copped a lot of criticism which I don't agree with ... he's got a great record and he's bowled well in Australia.

"If you're bowling him at the Gabba he's getting that extra bounce. He did well in that first Test for us in 2013-14, he opened up the game for us."

Lyon tears India apart with eight-wicket haul