Ashes: Quickfire Ausies rattle England
22 November 2013, 10:11
Brisbane - Pacemen Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris led the carnage as England was skittled for 136 on Friday, giving Australia a 159-run first innings lead in the series-opening Ashes test.
Johnson took 4-61 and Harris returned 3-28 as England was bowled out in 52.4 overs — including a collapse of six wickets for nine runs in the middle — less than five hours after dismissing Australia for 295 on the second morning at the Gabba.
Opener Michael Carberry (40) top-scored for England in his second test and Stuart Broad, the pantomime villain for the local crowd, scored 32 to go with his six-wicket haul earlier in the match.
A dozen wickets fell inside three sessions Friday after Australia resumed at 273-8. Brad Haddin was the last Australian out, running himself out for 94 after a belligerent innings that started with the hosts reeling at 100-5 and included a 114-run seventh-wicket rescue job with Johnson (64).
Haddin kept running straight to the dressing room without looking back for an umpire's decision to prepare for his wicketkeeping duties, and was almost immediately back in the action in the first two dismissals.
The critics considered the first innings another failure from the Australian top order after winning the toss and opting to bat on a pitch that appeared to be ideal for scoring runs.
And England was coasting at 55-1 in reply, until Johnson broke through to have Jonathan Trott (10) caught behind just before lunch.
Kevin Pietersen, playing in his 100th test, got a reprieve on eight when Peter Siddle put down a sharp return catch, but his dismissal for 18 by Harris triggered the stunning collapse as England slid from 82-2 to 91-8.
The Australian fast bowlers bowled with more pace than England's seamers in the first innings, but didn't seem to be getting as much swing or movement initially.
Harris had England captain Alastair Cook (13) caught behind by Haddin with the total at 28, and Johnson's first wicket since being recalled was Trott edging down legside.
Carberry was playing a steady hand and Pietersen starting getting his eye before he misjudged a ball from Harris and was caught out to end their third-wicket stand. That's when things really went haywire for England.
Left-armer Johnson started bowling around the wicket at Carberry and hit him once on the chest with a short ball, sent one skidding over his head and then had him caught by Shane Watson in the slips in an inspired piece of bowling as England slipped to 87-4.
Offspinner Nathan Lyon chimed in with wickets on consecutive balls after opening with three straight maiden overs. He had Ian Bell (5) caught by Steve Smith at short leg and Matt Prior (0) out in the same manner next ball — after the Australians referred the decision to the third umpire at Smith's adamant request.
Broad, the main destroyer for England with 6-81 when Australia was batting, received another loud boo when he walked to the crease and didn't have to play a shot at the hat-trick ball, allowing it to drift past.
Johnson's next two strikes had England reeling at 91-8, with Joe Root (2) caught in the slips while slashing at a wide ball and Graeme Swann (0) caught by George Bailey.
Tailenders Broad and Chris Tremlett helped England avoid the follow-on target before Harris broke up the ninth-wicket stand. Broad continued with No. 11 Jimmy Anderson in a determined 46-ball rearguard innings before he miscued a Siddle short ball and was the last man out.
Coming off a 3-0 series win at home three months ago, England is aiming for a fourth consecutive Ashes series win, something it hasn't achieved since the 1800s. Australia hasn't won any of its last nine tests.