TEARAWAY quick Mitchell Johnson has accused England of deliberately backing away from fast bowlers as a tactic to unsettle Australia’s pacemen.
It is not uncommon for batsmen to walk away from a delivery if members of the crowd appear in their line of vision, but Johnson says the regularity with which it has happened during the Ashes indicates England are doing it for other reasons.
And the fiery left-armer says he expects Andy Flower’s men to continue to employ it in the fifth and final Test at the SCG, starting tomorrow.
‘‘That’s how they play the game and have always played the game since I’ve been playing,’’ he said yesterday.
‘‘It’s always happened so I don’t think they’ll change.
‘‘It definitely is frustrating when it happens all the time but that’s part of the game, it’s part of their tactics.’’
The issue came to a head in the Boxing Day Test when Englishman Kevin Pietersen walked away during Johnson’s run-up, causing the series leading wicket-taker to react angrily.
Johnson chucked the ball in Pietersen’s direction and shared words soon after.
But Johnson says he won’t be playing nice if England try it again in Sydney.
‘‘The only thing I regret is throwing the ball,’’ he said.
‘‘I think that was probably a little bit inappropriate, but the rest of it was fine.
‘‘I just let [Pietersen] know that he needed to stop doing it.
‘‘The sight screens are big enough. He should be watching the game. I won’t back down if it happens again.’’
If it is a tactic, it’s not working. Johnson, who has taken 31 wickets at 14.32 this series, said he was spurred on by Pietersen’s hasty retreat in Melbourne, where he claimed 3-25 in the second innings.
‘‘Not long after that I got Bairstow out, so it was probably a tactic that didn’t work on his behalf that time.’’
As Australia chase an astonishing 5-0 clean sweep of England, just four months after losing 3-0 in England, Johnson admitted he felt little sympathy for the old enemy.
Johnson, more than most, has copped flak from a ruthless Barmy Army, whose infamous chants took him to his lowest points on the cricket pitch. But the hurt he felt in the past is simply making his resurrection all the sweeter.
‘‘It’s definitely a lot sweeter to me. I was quite emotional in Perth. I found it difficult to bowl the last two overs,’’ he said. ‘‘Just the emotions were flowing and all the memories of all the bad times were there and I finally had that urn in my hand.
‘‘Just to prove to myself that I was able to come back and to be able to do it.’’
● New Zealand batsman Corey Anderson smashed the fastest one-day international 100, taking just 36 balls to reach a century against the West Indies yesterday.
Left-hander Anderson, 23, hit the 12th six of his innings off spinner Nikita Miller in the 18th over at the small Queenstown ground to reach three figures.
He eclipsed Pakistani Shahid Afridi’s previous record of 37 balls, set against Sri Lanka in Nairobi in 1996.
Anderson finished unbeaten on 131, having smashed 14 sixes as New Zealand posted 4-283 in a match shortened by rain to 21 overs per side. He was supported by Jesse Ryder, whose 104 off 46 balls was itself the sixth-fastest ton in ODIs.
Their main assault started in the 12th over as the pair combined to take 19 off Jason Holder. Anderson smashed four sixes in the next over, off Sunil Narine, then repeated the trick two overs later off Ravi Rampaul. At that stage Anderson had hit 10 sixes in the space of 16 balls. Rampaul took 0-64 off three overs.
IRRITATED: Mitchell Johnson confronts Kevin Pietersen in Melbourne. Picture: Getty Images