McGrath foresees Johnson rising to number one

Australia

Former fast bowler Glenn McGrath has suggested Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson will soon become the number one-ranked Test bowler.

Former fast bowler Glenn McGrath has suggested Australian pace ace Mitchell Johnson will soon become the number one-ranked Test bowler.

Johnson has enjoyed a tremendous stretch of form during the ongoing Ashes series, which the Australians lead two-nil after big wins Brisbane and Adelaide.

Fine figures of nine for 103 at the Gabba, a first-innings seven-wicket haul and and eight victim in the second at the Adelaide Oval earned the aggressive left-armer back-to-back Man of the Match awards.

"Johnson has that same infectious x-factor. The hostile fashion in which he is bowling, the way he has swarmed all over the England batting lineup and unsettled them, has lifted Australia. He's the big difference between this series and the one in the English summer," McGrath wrote in a column for the <i>Guardian</i>.

"Dale Steyn, the current world number one, is a quality bowler but if Mitch keeps bowling like this it won't be long before he's up in the top two – or even number one. It's one thing to send the ball flying through at the WACA or the Gabba but to have batsmen jumping around like he did on a placid Adelaide deck is something pretty special.

"He was very close to the top back in 2009, when Muttiah Muralitharan and then Steyn kept him at number two, and if he can maintain this level then he's got every chance of getting back up there again."

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The 32-year-old has been retained in the squad for the third Test, too, and isn't likely to be omitted from the XI amid rotation of the pace ranks – as the hosts target an unassailable three-nil series lead in Perth.

"I've been saying for the last few months that Mitch was going to have a huge impact on this series, so I'm not surprised by the way he's played. The way he bowled in the ODIs in England and then India showed he's a different bowler to the one he became in 2011," added McGrath.

The third Test will get underway at the Western Australian Cricket Association Ground on Friday. The Melbourne Cricket Ground and Sydney Cricket Ground will host fixtures four and five respectively. Five ODIs and three Twenty20 Internationals will follow.

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