No hate but plenty of fire in S Africa cricket rivalry: Mitchell Johnson

Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson is expecting a fiery encounter with South Africa in the upcoming one-day series but thinks to say the teams "hate" each other would be to overstate the case.

Reuters| Last Updated: Nov 12, 2014, 17:53 PM IST
No hate but plenty of fire in S Africa cricket rivalry: Mitchell Johnson

Sydney: Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson is expecting a fiery encounter with South Africa in the upcoming one-day series but thinks to say the teams "hate" each other would be to overstate the case.

The bad blood between the sides goes back to Australia`s test triumph in South Africa at the start of the year and Johnson conceded that it could spill over into the five-match series which starts at the WACA in Perth on Friday.

"There`s always tension between the two sides," Johnson told reporters in Perth on Wednesday. 

"But in the end we`re going to play them on skill. That`s what we`re about. We want to beat them with bat and ball. 

"It`s probably going to be fiery again but we want to play the best cricket we can. Both teams don`t like to lose and that`s where you see the fire in the game (but) I think hate`s a pretty strong word." 

Johnson has not been as devastating in one-day internationals at his home ground as he has in test matches, where he has taken 42 wickets at 20.19 in six matches.

That compares to 11 at 32.54 in nine international matches with the white ball but Johnson is confident that his contribution to the team goes beyond knocking down wickets. 

"I always enjoy playing at the WACA and if I play my role in being aggressive and don`t get any wickets, I`m happy and hopefully the team will be happy too," he said. 

The 33-year-old said he would be bowling "pain free" despite a bandage on one of his fingers, damaged when he caught a ball awkwardly in the United Arab Emirates.

Having laboured in two tests against Pakistan on the slow pitches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Johnson was relishing the pace-friendly Perth tracks. 

"It`s nice to be back home, I`m just getting used to the wickets again," he said."Obviously in the UAE it`s low and slow so it`s been pretty exciting in the nets, just seeing how much bounce and pace there is.

"I always go as hard as I can in the nets without trying to kill the batsmen."

The series, a key part of preparations for next year`s World Cup in Australia and New Zealand, starts with two clashes in Perth before moving on to Melbourne, Canberra and Sydney.