Life will start after 50 Tests for the recharged Mitchell Johnson, with the fast bowler primed for a year that will define his career.

Last week in Melbourne, he became just the 14th Australian to take 200 Test wickets and, in Sydney on Thursday, he'll bring up a half century of Baggy Green appearances.

However, Johnson will be remembered for what he can produce in 2013, with a four-Test campaign in India then two Ashes series almost back to back.

The left-armer was plagued by inconsistency before dropping off the scene with injury a year ago.

But in his two Tests back this summer, Johnson has shown signs that he's tightened up his game without compromising on his vicious pace.

If he can stand up as a consistent strike weapon for his country in India and in the Ashes, he will be well on his way to building a lasting Test legacy.

Captain Michael Clarke says Johnson has taken advantage of his year on the Test sidelines to develop the attitude and technique needed to spark Australia's inexperienced troops.

"I certainly didn't think it would be the last of Mitch. I've always known how much talent he's had. He's one of the greatest athletes I've seen play cricket," said Clarke on Wednesday.

"I think Mitch's time away from the game freshened his body and also freshened his mind.

"He's as hungry as he's ever been.

"With the right attitude, you go a long way to playing your best cricket.

"We left him out in Hobart and he had the right attitude. He made it clear he wanted to be back full-time."

Fast bowling great Glenn McGrath says finding the right mentality has been key for Johnson, who he believes deserves more credit for his recent milestones.

"He's always had that potential, but he seems a lot more relaxed. He's got good rhythm and it seems he's in a good headspace mentally," McGrath told AAP.

"They're big achievements (200 wickets and 50 Tests) and he can be pretty proud of those."

The West Australian

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