The high-intensity opening Ashes Test, perhaps unsurprisingly, produces this week’s Cricket World Player of the Week. Mitchell Johnson shrugged off the usual taunts from the Barmy Army, England fans and journalists alike to intimidate the tourists into submission. He returned match figures of nine for 103 as Australia bullied England.
The first day of the Test saw Stuart Broad star after receiving similar treatment from the Australian fans and media. Johnson’s comments that he thought Australia were “in a great position” at that stage were laughed off by England fans. They soon had the smile wiped off their faces.
Johnson rattled their top-order and led their first innings routing for 136. He had been recalled to the Australian side off the back of a string of solid performances in limited-overs cricket, but doubts still surrounded his mental fragility and accuracy ahead of the Test.
His second innings showing was arguably even better as he took five for 42 to send England to a crushing defeat. Only captain Alastair Cook passed 50 as an aggressive Australia shocked the Ashes holders.
If Johnson led the bowling, then he also did his bit with the bat on day one, sharing 104 with Brad Haddin (94) to help Australia bounce back from a poor position. With the match already drifting rapidly away from England, Michael Clarke and David Warner then hit brisk centuries to set up their impossible fourth innings run chase.
Away from Brisbane, and there was action in India, where the hosts are locked at one-all in their ODI series against the West Indies. Virat Kohli starred in both games with 86 and 99, but whereas he found support from Rohit Sharma (72) in the first, he found little in the second. Darren Sammy hit 63 not out to help the tourists take the series to a decider.
Pakistan and South Africa are again locking horns after the latter had largely the better of the series in the UAE. It was the turn of Pakistan to draw first blood in the ODI series in South Africa as debutants Anwar Ali and Bilawal Bhatti put in strong performances with both bat and ball in the first game in Cape Town.
And finally, the World T20 Qualifier is now entering its final week of matches, with Ireland and Afghanistan the first teams to make it through to next year’s tournament in Bangladesh. William Porterfield hit the first century by an Irishman in his side’s win over the USA, while Samiullah Shenwari helped the Afghans qualify by taking five for 13 against Kenya.
© Cricket World 2013