Perth: Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson on Wednesday said Australia were surprised by the substandard performance of New Zealand pacer Trent Boult at the Gabba and plan to continue piling the pressure on the left-armer in the second Test at the WACA.
The world’s sixth ranked Test bowler, Boult was ineffective and lacking his usual pace and swing for large periods of the series opener in Brisbane. They play a series of three Tests.
He finished with match figures of 2-188, with his runs coming at more than five per over, and Johnson suspected his fellow left-armer may have been somewhat underdone after a build-up that included predominantly one-day cricket.
"I was surprised with the way he bowled full stop. We talked about him in our team meeting. He generally gets the ball nice and full and he has got good pace. In one-dayers you have got 10 overs and you can really go for it," Johnson was quoted as saying by cricket.com.au on Wednesday.
"He has probably been a bit underdone. He has come back from injury and he hasn’t had a lot of cricket. That was good for us that he has played the way he has. From his point of view he wouldn’t have liked that," he said.
Through the aggression of David Warner initially and then fellow opener Joe Burns, Australia got on top of the Black Caps from the outset of the Brisbane Test, with captain Brendon McCullum conceding afterwards that he and his bowlers had virtually no control over how the innings transpired.
It was a significant blow for the tourists, who arrived in Australia confident in their attack and particularly in their opening pair, Boult and Tim Southee.
But with Boult hit off his lines and lengths and Southee suffering a back problem, New Zealand quickly wilted and face an enormous challenge now to force their way back into the series.
"There was pressure on their two opening bowlers really; they are the two spearheads that they rely on so much, Southee and Boult,” Johnson said.
"Hopefully we can put that pressure on them (in Perth) if Southee plays as well. He would have been disappointed (by being unable to bowl in Brisbane), and it was certainly a surprise to us that (Boult) didn’t bowl the way he normally does, so we are expecting him to bounce back and bowl well out here."