17/12/2010 - 14:55

Johnson routs England at the WACA

17/12/2010 - 14:55

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Mitchell Johnson is back with a bang - and so are Australia's Ashes hopes - after the left arm quick skittled England to give Australia a big first innings lead of 81.

Johnson routs England at the WACA

Mitchell Johnson is back with a bang - and so are Australia's Ashes hopes - after the left arm quick skittled England to give Australia a big first innings lead of 81.

Johnson snared 6 wickets for just 38 runs as the tourists were bundled out for 187.

Johnson's future hung in the balance after a wayward and wicket-less performance in Brisbane resulted in his swift axing for the second Test in Adelaide.

Could he rediscover his mojo?

Had batsmen finally figured him out?

Was he ever really that good?

It took just one explosive spell for Johnson to put all those questions to bed.

England, cruising at 0-78 early on day two of the third Test at the WACA Ground, were well on their way to snaring the win that would secure them the Ashes.

Enter Johnson.

Recalled as part of a four-man pace attack, Johnson turned the contest back Australia's way with a mesmerising spell that snared the crucial wickets of Alastair Cook (32), Jonathan Trott (four), Kevin Pietersen (0) and Paul Collingwood (five).

In the space of 27 balls, Johnson claimed four wickets for just seven runs.

It's amazing what confidence can do.

And with Ryan Harris chipping in with the scalp of England skipper Andrew Strauss, England went from 0-78 to 5-98 in the session before lunch, before going into the break at 5 for 119.

By 3.00pm local time, England had been skittled for 187 just moments after England number six Ian Bell was dismissed by Harris for 53. Harris finished with the excellent figures of 3 for 59, after also taking the wicket of Graeme Swann.

Johnson promptly followed that by removing Chris Tremlett's offstump for two and then having his arch fast bowling rival, Jimmy Anderson, caught by Watson in the slips for a duck.

Johnson was nearly unplayable, bowling regularly around the 140km/h mark and bamboozling the batsmen with significant and pacy in-swing.

It was reminiscent of his scintillating display at the same venue two years ago when he claimed 8-61 to help skittle South Africa for 281.

Former Test captain Kim Hughes labelled it insane when Johnson was rested from Western Australia's recent Sheffield Shield clash with Queensland so he could instead tinker with his bowling action in the nets.

But the move proved to be a masterful one, with the words of wisdom from Australia bowling coach Troy Cooley working a treat.

And it's not only with the ball that Johnson is making an impact.

After Australia's top-order flopped, Johnson's 62 on day one helped Australia reach a creditable 268, putting at least some pressure on England.

Australia trail the Ashes series 1-0, needing to win at least two more Tests to reclaim the urn.

That seemed like a dream just one day ago, but Johnson's heroics have now made it a distinct reality.

 

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