Mitchell Johnson hit his maiden half-century after Ricky Ponting’s sedate 79 to lift Australia to an impressive 275 for eight against the West Indies at New Wanderers stadium here today.
Johnson’s fiery unbeaten 73-run knock came at a time when Australia were staring at an early fold of their innings after being reduced to 171 for seven.
Johnson came out all guns blazing and struck eight boundaries and three sixes, in just 43 balls to change the complexion of the game.
He found an able ally in fellow pace-man Brett Lee, who contributed 25 runs in a crucial eight-wicket 70-run partnership.
Sent in to bat, Australia were cruising at 85 for one, following first-ball dismissal of Shane Watson, as skipper Ponting and Tim Paine batted beautifully against a depleted Windies side.
However, the Australian middle-order crumbled when their partnership ended with the wicket of Paine (33).
Bernard dismissed Paine to break the partnership and then accounted for Michael Hussey (6) to put some brakes on the run flow.
Ponting continued his good show as he cracked nine fours and a six during his 94-ball stay but his partners kept changing in the other end.
Left-arm spinner Nikita Miller dealt a sever blow to the Australians by scalping Ponting in the 31st over.
Ponting gave a charge to Miller, mis-judged the flight of the delivery and keeper Chadwick Walton whipped the bails off.
Cameron White (4) and Callum Ferguson (20) soon joined their skipper back in the hut, leaving their team in serious trouble.
Miller was the most economical bowler of the West Indies as he gave away just 24 runs in his quota of 10 overs while taking two wickets. Roach (2/73) and Bernard (2/63) also took two wickets each