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  • Australia v England, 1st Test, Brisbane, Day 4

Johnson blows England away in 381-run drubbing

David Hopps
November 24, 2013

Australia 295 (Haddin 94, Johnson 64, Broad 6-81) and 7 for 401 dec (Warner 124, Clarke 113, Haddin 53) beat England 136 (Johnson 4-61, Harris 3-28) and 173 (Cook 65, Johnson 5-42) by 381 runs

Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

Mitchell Johnson is chased by Michael Clarke and the rest of his Australia team-mates after dismissing Stuart Broad during another batting collapse for England © AP
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A rampant, fierce and fired-up Mitchell Johnson took his match haul to nine wickets as Australia romped to a 381-run victory in the first Test at the Gabba. His pace and aggression shocked England, who suffered their second major collapse of the match following an afternoon stoppage for a lightning and hail storm.

Until then, Alastair Cook had shown stubborn resistance and although an Australia win was always the likely outcome they were being made to work. However, Cook fell shortly after play resumed, cutting against Nathan Lyon, and the rest fell in a rush although another shower kept Australia waiting a short while.

Matt Prior completed a dismal match, glancing Lyon straight into the set trap of leg spin, then Johnson bounced out Stuart Broad before having Graeme Swann caught at third slip. Chris Tremlett hung around either side of the second rain break but eventually fended to short leg, which prompted a heated conclusion with plenty of verbals being thrown at James Anderson.

It was Anderson who was the last-man out, giving Johnson his fifth wicket of the innings with a return catch which led to an outpouring of emotion from the Australian players. It ended a run of nine Tests without a win for Australia and was their first Ashes victory since Perth in 2010-11.

England lost four wickets for nine runs in 20 balls after the first storm, their second collapse of the match. The first of them was Cook, their redoubtable captain, and the one batsman who shaped as if saving the game was within his ken. Cook fell to his second ball after the resumption, immediately after tea, seeking the cut shot that had been his most productive stroke, and undone by a little extra bounce and turn. Nathan Lyon's ability to find overspin has been beneficial on a pitch of decent bounce and he has outbowled Graeme Swann here as a result.

Cook is designed for the long game. Endurance defines him. His 65 over three-and-threequarter hours was patient and unflustered, intent purely on survival, and scoring occasionally by happenstance. When a ball slipped out of Lyon's hand and arrived as a juicy full toss, he could not quite compute it and the ball rapped into his thigh.

Fragility followed upon Cook's dismissal. Matt Prior obligingly turned Lyon to leg slip and Stuart Broad and Swann followed in Johnson's next over, Broad jumped across his crease to fend Johnson off his glove down the leg side and Swann collected the first Test pair of his career as he pushed half-heartedly forward. The Nottinghamshire pair can be outlandish counter-attackers down the order but neither look well equipped to cope with Johnson thundering in at 150kph. Not many would.

Chris Tremlett blocked stoutly for a while and Joe Root, on his first Ashes tour, will find his two hours at the crease invaluable. But Tremlett departed at short leg as Ryan Harris slammed one into the splice, and the second over with the new ball rounded things off as Anderson proferred Johnson a return catch amid a flurry of verbals.

Once again, the Gabba had come to Australia's aid. Two down overnight, and with two days remaining, England's task to save the Test looked insurmountable without major intervention from the weather. If they could draw sustenance from anywhere it was from the Brisbane Test three years ago when they batted for ten-and-a-half hours, Cook made an unbeaten double hundred and the series shifted irrevocably in their favour. But their batting possessed more substance then.

In the morning, England lost Kevin Pietersen; in the afternoon, Ian Bell. Such was Australia's dominant position that one wicket per session was acceptable progress because as became evident the tail can depart in no time. Bell, on 32, became the fourth England wicket to fall, during a wholehearted spell by Peter Siddle, failing to withdraw as Siddle found extra bounce and cramped his shot.

Pietersen's 100th Test has failed to pour kindness upon him. He made 26 before he fell to the first over after the drinks interval. His swivel pull against Johnson felt smooth enough but all he did was pick out the fielder at fine leg. It was only the second ball Pietersen had faced from Johnson on the third morning and his determination to assert himself proved to be his downfall. But it seemed a bit harsh to condemn it as injudicious. Sometimes things just turn out badly.

Pietersen, whose knowledge of first-class players is not encyclopaedic (he once played a match with Hampshire's Chris Wood without knowing who he was) could be forgiven for not knowing that the fielder in question was Chris Sabburg, specialist fielder and smiter for Brisbane Heat, a man given a rookie contract by Darren Lehmann last year before he abandoned the Heat for a hotter job altogether.

Sabburg, his job done, immediately left the field, replaced his orange substitutes' bib and yanked his sunnies over his ginger hair, a look of total satisfaction on his face. It was the finest substitute's intervention in an Ashes Test since Gary Pratt ran out Ricky Ponting at Trent Bridge in 2005.

This article originally appeared on ESPNcricinfo
David Hopps is the UK editor of ESPNcricinfo

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