Durban: Australian captain Ricky Ponting is sure that pacer Mitchell Johnson’s bone-breaking powers will be playing on Graeme Smith’s mind when the South African skipper returns to open in the first One-Day international being played here on Friday.
Left-armer Johnson fractured Smith’s left hand’s little finger in the Sydney Test match in January, and two Tests later in Durban he completed the double, cracking the opening batsman’s right hand little finger.
After missing the third Test in Cape Town last month and the two Twenty20 Internationals, which followed, Smith has been batting confidently in the nets this week in Durban, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.
"It will be interesting, he hit him in Sydney and broke his finger there, and the next time he got the chance to bowl to him was in Jo''burg. He got him out second ball in the first innings in Jo’burg and he almost had him first ball in the second innings. Then he hit him in the third over in Durban," Ponting said.
"There’s no doubt that those sort of things will be playing on Smith’s mind a little bit, but he’s an outstanding player and has been for a long time. He becomes one of our major targets in this series," Ponting said.
The 27-year-old paceman has returned fresh to training after being rested from Sunday’s second Twenty20 International at Centurion.
"I’ll go into these One-Dayers with a bit of confidences coming out of the Test series," Johnson said.
He denied suggestions he would pepper Smith with short balls at his gloves.