Perth, Nov 17: Former captain Mark Taylor says Australia has lost two of its greatest fast bowlers in less than six months. Express left-hander Mitchell Johnson retired from international cricket on the final day of the second Test against New Zealand at the WACA Ground, ending his 73 match career.
His decision follows the retirement of reliable right-armer Ryan Harris in July, due to a knee problem. Between them the pair managed 424 Test wickets, with Johnson claiming 311 to be fourth on the list of Australian wicket-takers and Harris, a late-comer to Test cricket, picking up 113.
Taylor said Johnson deserved to be rated in the very top echelon of Australian fast bowlers and said his retirement would compound the loss of Harris, who was clearly missed during the Ashes loss in England.
"He's right up there for the real genuine fast bowlers, doing what he does and bowling the way he bowls," he said of Johnson.
"His partnership with Ryan Harris is statistically one of the best of all-time, and they were a great combination.
"When you think about it, Australian cricket has lost a great partnership."
Taylor said he felt like Johnson's form had been deteriorating since the latter stages of this year's Ashes pitches. "Doing what he does is tough on the body," he said.
"I saw the writing on the wall towards the end of the Ashes series, the wickets towards the end of the series didn't suit him and he wasn't at the best. "I felt he was losing that real desire to play.
"Once you heard his comments before this match you felt he was half-way out the door."
He said his favourite Johnson memory was a spell in Adelaide in 2003 where he took five wickets in quick succession and removed England's captain Alastair Cook.