Sport Cricket England needles Mitchell Johnson over stamina
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England needles Mitchell Johnson over stamina

Mitchell Johnson training in Brisbane ahead of the first test.
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England have challenged reborn Australian fast bowler Mitchell Johnson to prove he can sustain his firepower for the duration of a Test match.

The West Australian left-armer has fought his way back into Ashes cricket, after his deflating performance against England back in 2010/11 on home soil.

Ahead of Thursday’s first Test in Brisbane, those in the know say Johnson is armed with a new mindset and an improved action.

In recent one-day tours his pure speed has proven tough to handle.

But England fast bowling coach, Australian-born David Saker, warned success with the white ball is a long way from Test domination.

Saker said Johnson will need to show he can put effort on effort.

“His one-day form’s fantastic. He obviously played some good cricket over in India,” he said.

“But we all know that one-day cricket and Test cricket, there’s a big gap between red ball and white ball.

“You’ve got to be out there for 25-30 overs, which can be different. If you’ve just got 10 overs to go you know what you can do. But his form’s been good, it’s been encouraging for them.”

Meanwhile, Saker says Australia are welcome to try to attack champion England spinner Graeme Swann, but it will be at their peril.

The Australians have outlined a plan to try to get after Swann this Ashes series and not allow him to settle.

Swann was the leading wicket-taker on the sub-continent-like English wickets during the UK Ashes, but Australia are confident they can ensure the offspinner isn’t nearly as effective Down Under – especially with rain increasing the likelihood of a green Gabba wicket for Thursday.

Saker says Swann is a match-winner in all conditions.

“I think he’s proven across his career that he can stand up to any sort of pressure or any situation … and win us the game late in games,” he said.

“He’s done it on all surfaces around the world and he’s done it really well for us.

“When the ball’s not spinning he does a great job for us just holding, and when it’s his turn to take the game by the scruff of the neck he tends to do that.”