Sport Cricket No mercy: Johnson fires up for Zimbabwe

No mercy: Johnson fires up for Zimbabwe

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Recharged Australian firebrand Mitchell Johnson is being instructed to show no mercy against cricket minnows Zimbabwe in Monday’s tri-series one-day opener in Harare.

Australia’s rationale behind their first visit to the troubled African nation in over 10 years is to help grow the international game.

But that doesn’t mean there might not be casualties along the way in the form of some very nervous Zimbabwean batsmen, who are preparing to pad up to the most fearsome bowler they’ve ever faced.

Johnson, who is back from extended leave after destroying England and South Africa over the summer months, made his intentions clear during a lively centre wicket session on Saturday – he and fellow left-arm quick Mitchell Starc not holding back against Australia’s batsmen.

Zimabwe have this year drawn a series against Afghanistan and been swept by South Africa and aside from Proteas paceman Dale Steyn, have rarely faced a quick who bowls over 130km/h.

Australian coach Darren Lehmann summed up Zimbabwe’s challenge against the two Mitch’s rather succinctly.

“They swing the ball. One is very fast and the other is fast,” Lehmann said.

“So they’ll play.

“They got it through the boys (on Saturday), which is always nice to see. I don’t think our batters enjoy it though sometimes.”

Lehmann has heard the talk that Zimbabwe will be completely outclassed by Australia and the South Africans over the next fortnight.

But he wants his team to be ruthless ahead of February’s 50-over World Cup on home soil.

“Everyone thinks it’s probably going to be a walk in the park – but from our point of view we’re here to play and play well,” he said.

“We want to start getting our momentum going in this format of the game, we’ve got a big 12 months.

“The next two and a half weeks are really important to us.”