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First Test: Mitchell Johnson was pleased to continue his Ashes form in Centurion

Mitchell Johnson: Chief destroyer once again for Australia

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Mitchell Johnson was delighted to hit his straps on day two of the first Test against South Africa when he ripped though the hosts batting line-up.

The Australia quick had figures of 3-10 from his first four overs, before finishing with 4-51 in the Proteas' 140-6, as he continued his sensational form from the Ashes.

Johnson removed captain Graeme Smith, Alviro Petersen, Faf du Plessis and Ryan McLaren as South Africa closed 257 runs behind Australia's first-innings 397.

"To come out and get three wickets quickly is definitely a great start."

Mitchell Johnson

"I started better today than at the start of the Ashes in Brisbane," the left-armer said. "To come out and get three wickets quickly is definitely a great start."

The Queenslander's anticipated contest with Smith - whose hand he has previously twice broken with nasty deliveries - lasted just two balls, as Smith flayed at a bouncer and was caught for 10.

Johnson said he had a plan to bowl a little wider at the crease and use the angle. "It is nice when a plan comes off," the 32-year-old said.

"I think that is definitely in the back of his mind, but it was just one of those ball that took off.

"I think I'll try and keep bowling like that to him and try to keep producing those kind of balls.

"When I was batting I could sense the extra bounce in the wicket, so when I started bowling I tried to hit the deck as hard as I could. I didn't feel the wicket was swinging but there were cracks to work with."

Johnson took 37 England wickets in the five-test Ashes series at an average of less than 14.