Mitchell Johnson Runs Amok At The WACA
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Australia 375 (Katich 83, Clarke 62, Symonds 57) v
South Africa 243-8 (Kallis, de Villiers 63, Johnson 7-42)
First Test, WACA, Perth, day two: stumps
By John Pennington
A devastating spell of five wickets for two runs in 21 balls from Mitchell Johnson ensured that Australia closed day two of the first Test against South Africa in charge of the match with the Proteas closing on 243for eight in reply for 375.
Johnson's spell came after South Africa had reached tea in the comfortable position of 151 for three with Jacques Kallis (63) and AB de Villiers (63) progressing nicely.
Summoned by captain Ricky Ponting for a spell before tea, he made it count to finish the day with seven for 42, Test-best figures for him on his new home ground having switched from Queensland to Western Australia in the close season.
In the morning session, Australia's last-wicket pairing of Jason Krejza and Peter Siddle added 34 runs for the last wicket which enabled the home side to post 375. Krejza was unbeaten on 30 and Siddle hit 23 before Australia removed South African opener Neil McKenzie for two to regain the initiative in the match.
Resuming on 341 for nine with Siddle yet to face a ball, both men hit three boundaries as they frustrated South Africa for almost 10 overs before Siddle finally edged Makhaya Ntini (4-72) to Mark Boucher.
South African openers McKenzie and Graeme Smith then found run-scoring particularly difficult, McKenzie needing 31 balls for his two runs before he top-edged a pull off of Johnson to be caught by Krejza at short mid-off.
Graeme Smith (48) and Hashim Amla (47) put on 90 runs for the second wicket before Amla was bowled by off-spinner Krejza. Eight balls later, Smith was also out, bowled by Johnson via an inside edge.
Kallis and de Villiers, who smashed Krejza for a six over midwicket before tea, looked untroubled as they guided the tourists to 234 for three with a 124-run fourth-wicket stand before Johnson changed the complexion of the game.
He had both set batsmen caught by Brad Haddin as they pushed at deliveries angling across them in consecutive overs and in his next over Johnson had JP Duminy on his way back to the pavilion for just one. The left-hander got off the mark to score his first run in Test cricket but gave Haddin another catch when the ball ricocheted off his arm to be taken behind the wicket.
There were no doubts about the last two wickets to fall, both catches to Krejza after Morne Morkel (1) was completely deceived by a slower ball and Paul Harris (0) was taken at backward short leg.
Half-centuries from Simon Katich, Michael Clarke and Andrew Symonds helped Australia recover from 15 for three early on day one to post a competitive total.
© Cricket World 2008