Some lightning fast bowling from Mitchell Johnson on a hail-hit Gabba ground helped Australia to a 381—run win over England with a day to spare in the Ashes series opener.
After two rain interruptions, including a hail storm that scattered the crowd on day four, Johnson took five wickets as Australia dismissed England for 179 in the second innings late Sunday to claim its first victory in 10 test matches.
There were some heated verbal exchanges and finger pointing between opposing players, setting up what should be a hotly contested five—test series. England came to Australia aiming to win the “old urn” for a fourth straight series for the first time since the 1800s only three months after clinching the Ashes 3—0 at home in August.
But Australia hadn’t lost a test at the Gabba since 1988 and was desperate to start the series with a big win.
Johnson, recalled to the Australian lineup after missing selection for the last tour to England, took five wickets in the second innings and four in the first, as well as contributing a half century and an unbeaten 39 with the bat.
Fittingly, he finished it off with a caught—and—bowled dismissal to remove No. 11 batsman Jimmy Anderson. The Australians bowled England out twice for under 180.
A hail storm stopped play for 90 minutes late in the middle session and Australia returned to the field wanting to finish it off quickly.
They got four wickets as England slipped from 142—4 to 151—8 before another brief shower delayed play again.
After the second delay, every fielder stood within 15 meters of the bat for a Ryan Harris over against Chris Tremlett in clear sign of intent.
Tremlett (7) didn’t last much longer before he was caught off Harris’ bowling to make it 172—9 and Joe Root had a reprieve on a run out on the same total. Running to the bowlers’ end, he was well out of his ground but Lyon knocked off a bail with his elbow in the act of catching the ball and the TV umpire ruled not out.
Root finished unbeaten on 26 when he ran out of batting partners.
Captain Alastair Cook’s defiant innings ended on 65. He didn’t add to his score after the first rain delay and was deceived by some extra bounce from spinner Lyon and top—edged an attempted cut to Haddin to make it 142—5.
That triggered a slide of wickets, with England losing four wickets for nine runs in another meek, middle—order collapse.
In the first innings, the English lost 6—9 to slump to 136 in reply to 295 and handed the Australians a massive advantage.
Matt Prior (4) was out edging Lyon for the second time in the test, making it 146—6, and Johnson took two wickets in the next over.
In a provocative comment after the third day, Australian opener David Warner claimed the England batsmen had “scared eyes” facing the pace and short—pitch bowling from Johnson.
And it seemed that Johnson did unnerve the English middle order again on Sunday.
After removing Jonathan Trott (9) before stumps on Saturday evening and Kevin Pietersen (26) in the morning session Sunday, Johnson struck twice in three balls to have Stuart Broad (4) caught down legside and Graeme Swann (0) edging to third slip as England slid to 154—8.
The 32—year—old left—armer, a 51—test veteran, responded to his recall with venom on a wicket with the kind of bounce that the English batsmen are not accustomed to.