Johnson gives Australia new belief
It would be difficult to overestimate the importance of Mitchell Johnson’s display on day two of the third Ashes test. Australia had all but given up on the Ashes after England bowled them out for 268 on day one. The post mortem had started and the main topic of discussion was about who could or would replace Ricky Ponting as skipper.
On Friday morning, Johnson was reborn as a test bowler and skittled England’s top order. The impact was immediate. Suddenly, the Australian voices in the crowd drowned out England’s “Barmy Army”, the Australian players were chirping aggressively and the English wickets kept tumbling until they were bowled out for 187. Johnson finished with 6-38.
Even the spirit of Johnson could not prevent another batting failure for the luckless Ponting, however, and he made a solitary run before departing as one of three Australian wickets to fall in the final session.
Still, Australia finished the day with a lead of 200 and seven wickets in hand as well as a renewed belief that they can beat this England team. Quite a feat for a bowler dropped as a liability after a terrible display in the Brisbane opener.
PHOTO: Tim Wimborne’s picture shows Johnson acknowledging the ovation of a packed house at the WACA as he left the field.