Denis Lillee hails the coming of age of protege Johnson

December 19th, 2008 - 4:51 pm ICT by ANI  

Melbourne, Dec 19 (ANI): Australian pace legend Dennis Lillee has hailed the coming of age of his young speed protege Mitchell Johnson who took eight South African wickets in the first innings to provide Australia a vital lead at the WACA.

Bowling from the Lillee-Marsh stand end, which his illustrious mentor made famous, Johnson produced one of the most spectacular fast-bowling spells of modern times.

Even Lillee could barely believe his eyes as Johnson turned from a boy to a man with a barely believable spell of 5-2 off 21 balls, the Courier Mail reported.

It is very pleasing to see the coming of age of any fast bowler and Mitchell on his new home ground has stepped up to the role today to show he has definitely come of age as a Test bowler, Lillee said.

Johnson was in shock at his performance - the best by an Australian paceman since Glenn McGrath took 8-24 against Pakistan at the same ground in 2004.
Im in a little bit of shock, it all happened so quickly, I dont think its set in. Its pretty exciting for me, Johnson said.

He just said keep backing yourself, keep bowling the way you have been. He said at the WACA you”ve got to be a bit straighter and get guys to play a bit more, Johnson said of Lillee.

The amazing haul was the greatest performance of all time by an Australian paceman playing against South Africa.

After shifting states from Queensland to Western Australia in the off-season for the love of his girlfriend, Johnson has found the form of his life.

The 27-year-old, once a shy lad from the country, had also discovered more confidence and even took a shot at South Africa last night.

Johnson said he hoped his spell was the spark for the resurfacing of the Proteas old mental demons that have plagued them in Australia since 1910. (ANI)

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