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Ashes: Australia's Mitchell Johnson stuns England

Third Ashes Test, Perth (day two, close):
Australia 268 & 119-3 v England 187
Venue: Waca Date: 16-20 December. Play resumes 0230 GMT on 18 Dec Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC Radio 4 LW, 5 live sports extra and online; live highlights and day's review on the TMS podcast ; live text commentary on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

Australia celebrate with Mitchell Johnson
Johnson plays his domestic cricket for Western Australia at the Waca

By Sam Sheringham

Mitchell Johnson produced a devastating display of swing bowling as Australia roared back into Ashes contention on day two of a riveting Perth Test.

England were 78-0 when the left-armer (6-38) turned the game on its head with a spell of four wickets for seven runs.

Only Andrew Strauss (52) and Ian Bell (53) offered any resistance as the tourists collapsed to 187 all out.

Shane Watson then scored 61 not out as Australia, trailing 1-0 in the series, reached 119-3 for a lead of 200 runs.

This was the day when the Ashes series came to life as Australia, outplayed for eight straight days of cricket and pilloried in their national press, took England's batting apart and put themselves in a great position to square a series that looked to be slipping away only 24 hours ago.

Johnson, dropped for the second Test defeat in Adelaide after a dismal display in the drawn first match in Brisbane, rediscovered his best form in stunning fashion on the ground where he took 8-61 against South Africa two years ago.

Running in for the first ball of his seventh over on Friday with series figures of 0-187, the left-armer was gifted his first wicket by a loose shot from Alastair Cook.

But what followed was a wonderful spell of fast inwingers which accounted for England's engine room of Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood.

The paceman's dream spell transformed a day that had begun with a moment of Australian ineptitude which has become all too familiar in this series.

In the third over, Strauss got a routine edge to a Ryan Harris delivery and the ball dissected the gap between wicketkeeper Brad Haddin and first slip Watson.

Tom Fordyce's blog
Stuart Broad on Mitchell Johnson

Inexplicably, neither player made an attempt to catch the ball in an incident which perfectly encapsulated the malaise afflicting Ricky Ponting's team.

Australian heads visibly dropped as Strauss, grateful for the lifeline, helped himself to three meaty fours in Harris's next over. The momentum was firmly with England, who sailed from their overnight position of 29-0 to 78-0 inside the first hour.

It was therefore a total surprise when the previously untroubled Cook wafted loosely at a wideish delivery from Johnson and Mike Hussey took a low catch in the gully.

Suddenly, Johnson was a different player, rediscovering in the blink of an eye the gifts which once saw him ranked the number one bowler in Test cricket.

New batsman Trott was given a working over with some short-pitched balls before playing around a fast inswinger which trapped him lbw for four.

Three balls later, an almost identical delivery accounted for Pietersen and for the first time since day three in Brisbane, Australia were on top.

Strauss brought up his half-century before nicking Harris through to Haddin and Johnson produced another magical inswinger to remove Collingwood leg before, with the Australians successfully reviewing umpire Marais Erasmus's incorrect decision to call it not out.

Ricky Ponting
Ricky Ponting's run of low scores continued in the second innings

Bell announced his arrival at the crease with an immaculate drive down the ground for four and showed admirable composure to see England through to lunch and a much-needed chance to regroup.

After the interval, Bell and Matt Prior took their partnership to 47 before England's wicketkeeper was undone in unfortunate fashion.

Attempting to fend off a bouncer from Peter Siddle, Prior deflected the ball on to his side, back on to his bat and watched agonisingly as it dropped on to his off stump.

Bell was once again in sublime touch, finding the fence with drives, pulls and cuts, the ball seemingly magnetically attracted to the sweet spot on his bat.

At the other end, Graeme Swann showed courage in the face of a barrage of bouncers from Siddle and Johnson. He had battled his way to 11 before a regulation nick off Harris carried through to Haddin.

That was the catalyst for the second collapse of the innings as England's last four wickets fell for only six runs.

Bell, perhaps sensing the need to strike out with only tail-enders to accompany him, sliced an away swinger from Harris to Ponting at second slip.

Johnson completed his five-wicket haul with another fine inswinger that flattened Chris Tremlett's off stump, and two balls later Anderson prodded outside off-stump to gift Watson a simple slip catch.

Australia made a solid start to their second innings, seeing off James Anderson's opening spell before Watson helped himself to three fours off Steve Finn's first over.

But the tall paceman, who conceded 86 runs off his 15 first-innings overs, rebounded to remove Phil Hughes and the out-of-sorts Ponting.

The left-handed Hughes was squared up by a ball angled across him, a thick edge carrying through to Collingwood.

Ponting, desperately seeking a big score to impose himself on the series, managed only one run before glancing a leg side delivery to Prior. The batman was initially given not out, but the TV review showed clear contact between ball and glove, meaning Australia's captain had to trudge reluctantly back to the pavilion.

Clarke, another player of pedigree woefully out of touch, came out swinging from the hip, smashing 20 off 17 balls before he chopped a ball from Tremlett on to his stumps.

At that stage, England may have sensed the chance to put themselves back in the driving seat, but the dependable duo of Watson and Hussey (24 not out) mixed textbook defence with some lusty blows to keep Australia in command.

Listen to commentary highlights from day two (UK users only)

TMS podcast: Agnew and Boycott's review (available worldwide)



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see also
Jonathan Agnew column
17 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Justin Langer's key moments
17 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Bell hopeful of England fightback
17 Dec 10 |  England
Third Ashes Test in photos
17 Dec 10 |  England
Friday's Ashes gossip column
17 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Tremlett puts England in command
16 Dec 10 |  England
Waugh joins Ponting future debate
16 Dec 10 |  Australia
England complete Adelaide triumph
07 Dec 10 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
08 Oct 09 |  Cricket


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