John­son rips into Eng­land

Dis­carded paceman makes a fiery re­turn

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - SPORT -

PERTH: Mer­cu­rial paceman Mitchell John­son re­dis­cov­ered his lost form to help Aus­tralia skit­tle Eng­land for 187 and wrest back the ini­tia­tive on a pul­sat­ing sec­ond day of the third Ashes Test yes­ter­day.

Swinging the ball into the righthanders at high pace, John­son smashed through Eng­land’s top or­der. He then cleaned up the tail to fin­ish with 6-38 in a bril­liant re­turn af­ter he was dropped for the sec­ond Test in Ade­laide fol­low­ing a way­ward, wick­et­less dis­play in the opener in Bris­bane.

At the close Aus­tralia were 119 for three, an over­all lead of 200. The hosts are bat­tling to level the five-Test se­ries and pre­vent Eng­land from be­com­ing the first English team to take the Ashes home in 24 years.

“I didn’t re­ally get too down on be­ing dropped. Ob­vi­ously I was dis­ap­pointed at the time when I find out but I knew I had to work on a few things and that’s what I did,” said John­son, who spent two weeks toil­ing in the nets in a bid to find his groove be­tween the Tests.

“I felt so good in those ses­sions and to go out there in the mid­dle and to be able to do it was great.”

Eng­land had raced to 78 with no loss in re­ply to Aus­tralia’s 268 when John­son in­duced Alastair Cook (32) to mis­cue a drive to Michael Hussey at gully, then trapped Jonathan Trott for four and Kevin Pietersen lbw for a duck.

John­son grabbed his third lbw by dis­miss­ing Paul Colling­wood for five then cel­e­brated his fifth and sixth wick­ets by bowl­ing Chris Trem­lett for two and get­ting James An­der­son caught for a duck.

Ryan Har­ris fin­ished with 3-59 af­ter dis­miss­ing Eng­land cap­tain An­drew Strauss for 52, Ian Bell (53) and Graeme Swann for 11.

The Eng­land pace bowlers struck back af­ter their bats­men had con­ceded an 81-run lead.

Steve Finn re­moved Phillip Hughes for 12, coax­ing a nick from the 22-yearold opener that went straight to Colling­wood’s safe hands at third slip.

He then had Ricky Ponting caught be­hind for one when the strug­gling Aus­tralian cap­tain feath­er­ing a catch off his glove to ‘keeper Matt Prior.

Ponting, who has not sur­passed 12 runs in his past four in­nings, was given not out, but Eng­land suc­cess­fully ap­pealed the de­ci­sion to en­sure the em­bat­tled Ponting re­ceives an­other harsh re­cep­tion in the me­dia.

Michael Clarke smashed four bound­aries in an ag­gres­sive 20-run cameo but chased a Trem­lett de­liv­ery onto his stumps as Aus­tralia wob­bled on 64-3.

Clarke’s dis­missal brought the hosts’ se­rial res­cuer Hussey to the crease and the 35-year-old left-han­der proved rock-solid again, adding an un­beaten 24 in a 55-run stand with opener Shane Wat­son (61 not out).

The pitch which proved a hand­ful for bats­men through­out the day af­ter los­ing its teeth in the af­ter­noon on Thurs­day, may yet pro­vide enough move­ment to re­strict Aus­tralia’s bid to level the se­ries.

“(The pitch) has sort of quick­ened up now and it’s got a re­ally nice bounce on it, so it’s go­ing to favour us and we can per­form well again on it,” John­son said. “It’s prob­a­bly dif­fer­ent to the last cou­ple of years,.”

Pas­sions spilled over with sev­eral heated ver­bal ex­changes in the mid­dle as Aus­tralia’s bowlers pep­pered the English bats­men with bruis­ing short­pitched de­liv­er­ies.

“It’s an Ashes Test match. Both teams are des­per­ate to win. We know our record as well at the WACA, so we’re des­per­ate to make a bit of his­tory here as well,” said Bell. Eng­land have won only once in Perth, de­feat­ing an Aus­tralian side weak­ened by de­fec­tions to World Se­ries cricket in 1978.

“It’s ag­gres­sive Ashes cricket which is what ev­ery­one wants to see,” Bell added. “In a five-Test se­ries you can have bad days and to­day was a bad day for us.

“(We’ll) go back tonight, re­cover and come back fight­ing to­mor­row which I think this teams done re­ally well over the past 18 months.”

AP PHOTO

GOTCHA: Aus­tralia’s Mitchell John­son grabs the wicket of Eng­land’s Paul Colling­wood yes­ter­day.

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