PRETORIA, SOUTH AFRICA - FEBRUARY 15: Mitchell Johnson of Australia during day 4 of the 1st Test match between South Africa and Australia at SuperSport Park on February 15, 2014 in Pretoria, South Africa. (Photo by Lee Warren/Gallo Images)

Johannesburg – According to Australian captain Michael Clarke, Mitchell Johnson is bowling better than anyone in world cricket at the moment.

Johnson was ruthless as he collected a dozen Protea scalps in the first Test at SuperSport Park, in Centurion, which ended inside five days, as South Africa fell to a crushing 281 run defeat on Saturday.

“I know there's not one cricket lover around the world that doesn't know Mitchell Johnson is bowling 150 km/h, and executing his skills better than any other bowler in the world at the moment,” Clarke said after the match.

“Whether you play the game or you watch it, you know.

“They've seen it against England and he showed it again here in different conditions. He's bowling fast. He's the fastest bowler in the world at the moment, there's no doubt about it.”

Clarke said the combination of pace and accuracy from Johnson, was lethal.

“It's an amazing skill to be able to bowl fast, but to be able to hit his mark as often as Mitchell is, that's class, world class,” he said.

“Mitchell's also got the right attitude, he thinks he can get better. Everybody in this team knows we can get better as a team, if we have the right attitude.”

Australia rank third in the Test rankings, and South Africa first. Clarke said his intention was to reclaim the number one spot.

“No matter how many Test matches they've played they want to get better, and we want to get back to being the number one team in the world,” said Clarke.

“We're a long way from that at the moment, but it's nice to see us competing against the number one team and challenging ourselves.

“The last four days, I think we earned a lot of respect from the people in South Africa by the way we've played.”

While Australia took a 1-0 lead in the three-match series and carried on from their 5-0 drubbing of England in Australia in the Ashes, the results of Clarke's charges have been mixed over the last twelve months.

In August last year Australia were condemned to a 3-0 away defeat at the hands of England. Clarke said it was especially sweet to taste victory with the bad results fresh in the memories of his players.

“I think as a team you have to go through some tough times to cherish what we did through the Australian summer,” said Clarke.

“When you walk into the changeroom after a day like today, you see on the blokes faces how special this victory is. We take nothing for granted in this team.” – Sapa