Johnson's up-and-down Ashes defined his career
PERTH: Australia's Mitchell Johnson, who retired from international cricket on Tuesday, was an enigmatic player who veered between being the most intimidating fast bowler in the game and a figure of fun lampooned for his inaccuracy.
At his full flowing best, which came in the first two years of his test career and the golden season of 2013-14, he got such pace and swing on the ball with his left-arm slingshot delivery that he became virtually unplayable.
It is those destructive, match-turning spells of raw pace that will be remembered best, not least by the batsmen who had the misfortune of facing them.
While he enjoyed great success against South Africa, both home and away, contributions to the Ashes will always define the careers of Australia's players and Johnson's experiences against England illustrated his fluctuating fortunes.
Coming off a brilliant tour of South Africa that went a long way to earning him his first ICC Player of the Year award, Johnson took 20 wickets in his first Ashes series in 2009.
There was a hint of troubles to come at Lord's, however, where he gave up 11 boundaries in his first eight overs as England headed towards their first Ashes win at the ground since 1934.
The 2-1 series defeat reduced Johnson to tears and before the 2010-11 Ashes, he was full of talk of revenge on the English and having banished his demons.
In the first test, however, he finished with figures of 0-170 as England batted for two days to rescue a draw.
Dropped for the innings defeat in the second test Adelaide, he returned in Perth where he had the sort of impact that explains why the selectors came back to him time and again.
Australia had all but given up on the Ashes after England bowled them out for 268 on day one but Johnson was reborn as a test bowler on day two and skittled England's top order.
Johnson finished with 6-38, added three more wickets in the second innings and the series was levelled at 1-1. It was the last Ashes test Australia would win before Mitchell's second rebirth at the Gabba in 2013.
In between, came the pasting in the final two tests of that series, during which England's Barmy Army of fans rejoiced in a lengthy repertoire of songs deriding Johnson.
The lampooning was especially cruel because for all the biker moustaches, tattoos and scary bouncers, Johnson remained a quiet and introspective man off the pitch.
Dropped for the 2013 series in England, he returned to the Ashes fray after showing a return to form in one-day cricket. No one could expect what was to come.
His first few overs in the opening test at the Gabba were erratic but he then summoned up a barrage of venomous bouncers that put real fear into the eyes of the English batsmen, whipped up the crowd and turned the series irrevocably to the home side.
He took 37 wickets in all -- nine in Brisbane, eight in Adelaide, six in Perth, eight in Melbourne and six in Sydney as the English, strong favourites for a fourth successive Ashes triumph, were swept 5-0.
His brilliant season, which was to earn him a second ICC Player of the Year award, continued in Australia's 2-1 series win in South Africa, where he took another 22 wickets.
Johnson's 59 wickets over the two series came at an average of 15.23 and if he never reached such heights again, it ensured he would be able to walk away from test cricket on his own terms at a time of his own choosing.