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August 12, 2009

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Aussie pacer admits to Ashes pressure

FAST bowler Mitchell Johnson has admitted the pressure of leading the Australian attack in the Ashes against England got to him.

Johnson went into the series as Australia's trump card after a brilliant performance against South Africa earlier in the year but has failed to make an impression.

The left-hander struggled with his line and length in the first two tests at Cardiff and Lord's but finally rediscovered his rhythm at Edgbaston and then Headingly as the Australians leveled the series at 1-1.

"I definitely had the head drop in the first two tests and was not really getting in the contest," he said. "I was basically bowling my ball and walking back to my mark and not really getting in the contest that way.

"I think in the third test at Edgbaston that was one of my goals was to pump the chest out and get a bit more involved in the game and I think that has definitely worked for me.

"I definitely have a lot more confidence and am just enjoying it a lot more now."

Johnson was heavily criticized for his wayward start to the series and feared he would be dropped after his dismal effort at Lord's.

"Definitely it was in the back of my mind," he said.

"When you are not going well and you start thinking a lot of different things and that was one of the things that probably popped up in my mind as well. I bowled a lot of wides and a lot of short balls, so that was a pretty tough moment for me and to be copping it from the English crowd.

"I probably did not know how to deal with it at the time.

"But it was probably the most I have copped it before and I have definitely learnt from that and I am sort of taking it all in now."

Australian media had speculated that the cause of Johnson's problem was a public falling out with his mother but the paceman insisted that was not the case.


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