Mon, Feb 20, 2017 | updated 04:47 AM IST

Johnson backs Starc to be more menacing

Updated: Sep 14, 2016 15:30 IST

Melbourne [Australia], Sept.14 (ANI):Ahead of Australia's upcoming tour to South Africa, former fast bowler Mitchell Johnson has warned the opposition batsmen that pace spearhead Mitchell Starc will turn out to be a more menacing force after his record-breaking performance in an otherwise disappointing Test series against Sri Lanka.

The 26-year-old was one of the few Australian players who managed to produce a brilliant performance in his side's 3-0 Test series whitewash in Sri Lanka, topping the wicket list with 24 at a staggering average of 16.

Starc endured a injury-plagued season, having suffered a stress fracture in his foot during the inaugural day-night Test against New Zealand in Adelaide last November before missing Australia's tour of New Zealand ahead of the World Twenty20 in India in March.

The pace spearhead, however, returned to cricket with a bang, dominating the ODI tri-series in the Caribbean and featuring in every match of Australia's Qantas Tour of Sri Lanka, including setting a new world record for the fastest bowler to bag 100 wickets.

Reflecting on Starc's impressive return, Johnson said the former had shown that he was really committed to working hard, referring to his terrific performance in testing Lankan conditions.

"But it was really exciting to see Mitchy Starc perform well. I thought he was close when we went over to England for that (2015) Ashes series, and he wasn't quite there," Johnson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au. "But he's shown after his injury he's really committed to working really hard. I've kept in touch with him and he was really positive going into that series. To be the leading wicket-taker in Sri Lanka in those conditions was really positive and a good step forward."

"He's still pretty fresh in Test cricket and he's only going to get better. He's going to keep breaking records I think as well. It's really exciting," said Johnson, whose decision to call time on his career came soon after similar moves by fellow Australians Michael Clarke, Brad Haddin, Chris Rogers and Ryan Harris last year.

While speaking in Perth to mark 50 days until the start of the Commonwealth Bank Test series against South Africa at the WACA Ground, Johnson admitted that he was expecting Starc to dominate the three-Test series in Australia as well when it gets underway on November 3.

"He can dominate again. On wickets that will provide bounce - with his height, it's going to be very difficult (to face him). He bowls a fuller ball, he definitely gets the ball up there, and especially on a wicket like the WACA where you can get good bounce, it's really vital to be up there. He'll swing the ball when he pitches the ball up. That yorker he's got is very dangerous, and he's always working to improve his game," he added.

Australia will play a five-match ODI series against South Africa from September 30 in Centurion before heading home for the Test series. (ANI)

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