The Ashes: Mitchell Johnson the wrecker as England fight to save 2nd Test
Mitchell Johnson shattered England's hopes of a series-levelling win in the second Test with one of the great Ashes bowling spells as Australia took an iron grip today
Johnson reprised his man-of-the-match performance in the 381-run first Gabba Test win with a destructive seven for 40 that strong-armed England out of the game and Australia onto the cusp of a two-nil series lead with three Tests to play. Australia, who declared at 570 for nine, once again skittled the Ashes holders cheaply for 172.
England have yet to score beyond 180 after being dismissed for 136 and 179 in Brisbane. By third day stumps, the home side had built their overall lead to 530 runs although they lost Chris Rogers (2), Shane Watson (0), Michael Clarke (22) along the way. David Warner was in line for his second century of the series on 83 with Steve Smith not out 23 in Australia's 132 for three.
Only Ian Bell (72 not out) and Michael Carberry (60) offered any resistance in England's feeble effort, recoiling against the hostile Johnson, who has now taken 16 wickets at just 8.9 in the series. Despite leading by a massive 398 runs Australia did not enforce the follow-on to give their bowlers a breather with just a three-day turnaround to the third Perth Test.
Johnson wreaked havoc after lunch with six for 16 off 26 balls for his ninth five-wicket haul and second in consecutive Tests. The energised 32-year-old quick is now 10th on the Australian all-time list with 221 wickets. Johnson shattered England with three wickets in a devastating 14th over, taking out Ben Stokes (1), Matt Prior (0) and Stuart Broad (0). Graeme Swann fought off the hat-trick ball before he became another victim.
Debutant Stokes was out for the first leg before wicket dismissal of the Test after a review, out-of-form Prior was shortened up by a lifting delivery before Johnson got him next ball, edging to Brad Haddin and Broad soon followed with Johnson crashing into his leg stump to put him on the hat-trick in his next over.
Johnson had Swann caught by a leaping Michael Clarke at second slip for seven and then he cleaned up Jimmy Anderson's middle-stump for a first-ball duck. Johnson ran past eye-balling Anderson as the English protagonist left the wicket to put the demon paceman on another hat-trick. That gave Johnson the figures of five for 12 in three overs. But Bell saw it off hitting airily towards Chris Rogers at short extra cover.
England lost three wickets before lunch with the pick of them a sensational Warner left-handed catch to dismiss opener Carberry, coming on top of the wickets of Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen earlier in the session. Carberry showed plenty of resolve and application in his 202-minute stint before Warner latched onto a brilliant catch at square leg off Shane Watson to send him on his way for his maiden Test half-century.
Root batted solidly in the opening half-hour before he got a top edge to a slog sweep to Nathan Lyon outside off-stump to deep backward square leg where Chris Rogers took the catch. Pietersen, who scored 227 on his last bat in the corresponding Adelaide Test three years ago, only lasted 12 balls before he was on his way inside the first hour to an ill-judged shot. Pietersen clipped the ball to mid-wicket where George Bailey took a splendid juggling catch on the third attempt to be out for four. It was the eighth time Siddle has taken Pietersen's wicket in Tests.
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