Australia 9/570 dec. & 3/132 (DA Warner 83*) v England 172 (IR Bell 72*, MG Johnson 7/40)
Australia lead by 530 runs
Another display of aggressive, intimidating and bloody fast left arm pace bowling from a white hot Mitchell Johnson has all but destroyed the English psyche and delivered a commanding position in the second Test to the home team. A spell of 5/16 in 5 overs immediately after the lunch break from the adopted West Australian had the tourists in tatters as they collapsed from 3/111 to 172 all out. A brilliant one handed catch by David Warner from the bowling of Shane Watson saw Carberry dismissed for a workmanlike 60 before the Johnson show took over to claim the last six wickets. An LBW review saw debutante Stokes dismissed before Johnson worked over and intimidated Matthew Prior for three deliveries before inducing an outside edge from a tentative prod outside off stump. He looks like a dismissal waiting to happen almost every ball at the moment. England need more from their vice-captain. After holding up play for an extended amount of time adjusting the sightscreen Stuart Broad walked right across his stumps and was bowled first ball. Swann, Anderson and Panesar offered little resistance to the rampaging left armer. England 398 behind on the first innings and have yet to pass 200 in the series.
7/40 for Johnson, who wisely has kept his moustache despite Movember finishing over a week ago, his second best performance in Tests behind his 8/61 against South Africa at the WACA in 2008. His performance yesterday took his career record 221 wickets at 29.33 in 53 Tests. He overtook the great leg-spinner Clarrie Grimmett’s total of 216 wickets (in just 37 Tests!) to move into 10th place in Australia’s all time wicket-takers list. At this rate he will overtake Ray Lindwall (228) in 9th place very soon. Despite some horrible form slumps, and admitting that I have written his Test career off at least twice in the past two years on this site, Johnson has been a durable performer whose best work wins Test matches. A rare and valuable commodity.
Earlier in the day Joe Root, after labouring 80 deliveries for just 15 runs, threw his wicket away with a skied sweep from Nathan Lyon, and Kevin Pieterson was caught by a juggling George Bailey. Apart from Carberry, only Ian Bell showed any grit with his unbeaten 72*. Both handled Johnson reasonably well. Bell’s class might have been better served up the order at number 3 than a battling Joe Root.
In reply Australia finished with 3/132 off the 39 overs they were required to bat. Rogers was caught behind off Anderson for 2. Watto was reckless and out for a second ball duck. There is nothing more I can add about Watto’s dismissal than what Sean Curtain has written in his Day 3 piece. It says it all.
Clarke is bowled by Panesar in an almost identical fashion to how Smith was bowled by the left arm spinner in the first innings. David Warner leads Australia to stumps and a lead of 530 with an unbeaten 83 off 117 balls. Nine fours and one six as he kept the momentum firmly in Australia’s grasp. His playing of Swann and Panesar a highlight, Warner’s footwork to spin has improved immeasurably. Smith remained unbeaten on 23. Nathan Lyon will be encouraged by the increasing turn in the pitch and will look forward to bowling sometime on day 4.
Another good day for Australia, another great day in the career of MG Johnson. We have one hand on the urn.