Michael Clarke picks out Mitchell Johnson for praise after Melbourne romp
Skipper Michael Clarke heaped praise on his pace bowlers after Australia's thumping innings victory over Sri Lanka.
Last Updated: 28/12/12 8:16am
Debutant Jackson Bird and in particular Mitchell Johnson were the stars of the show as the hosts sealed victory by an innings and 201 runs to move into an unassailable 2-0 lead in the three-match series.
Johnson was named man-of-the-match after taking six wickets and scoring 92 not out.
He also broke the finger of Sri Lanka's Kumar Sangakkara with a short ball, and Clarke said: "I think the other side that a lot of people don't get to see of Mitch is that on the field, he is as aggressive as anybody, but he's the first guy today to walk into the change-room and make sure everything's okay with Sangakkara.
"I think a lot of people don't get to see that side. He will fight hard, there's no doubt about it, and wants to have success for Australia and help us win. But off the field he's the first guy to go and make sure in this instance Kumar's OK."
Johnson's outstanding return to form leaves Clarke and his fellow selectors with a dilemma ahead of the dead rubber in Sydney, as they have already stated that Mitchell Starc will play after being rested in Melbourne.
"If Mitchell Johnson performed the way he did in this Test match, it's going to be very hard to leave him out," Clarke said.
Johnson believes he can be considered an all-rounder after his batting heroics, and can make up for the absence of the injured Shane Watson at the SCG.
"I think I can become an all-rounder, I've always enjoyed my batting, it's just being consistent with it," he said.
"If I can take what I did out there into the future and be consistent with it, I think I could become a good all-rounder. Time will tell."
Bird is the likely fall guy next week, despite an impressive four wickets on debut.
Clarke said: "His control with the new ball is an area I think we've been looking for. I think he filled that role of (injured) Ben Hilfenhaus. Being able to swing the new ball away from the right-hander and then take it across the left-hander off the wicket is a great strength.
"Bird played a huge part in Mitch's success in the first innings to be able to build pressure and it allows a bowler like Mitch to attack."