Australia fight back on second day

Last Updated 17 December 2010, 08:01 IST

The home side made just 268 on the opening day and England were cruising at 78-0 with openers Alastair Cook and Andrew Strauss in command.

A win for the tourists in Perth would ensure they retain the coveted Ashes urn and with Cook and Strauss at the crease Australia's hopes were fading fast.

But Johnson (6-38) evoked memories of local fast bowling legend Dennis Lillee as the left-armer's quadruple strike before lunch rocked the tourists, who were eventually dismissed for 187, a first innings deficit of 81.

As Johnson, dropped for the second Test in Adelaide, which Australia lost by an innings, ran in for the first ball of his seventh over today, he had series figures of 0-187.

Twenty-seven balls later, the top-scorer in the Australian first innings with 62 had the prized wickets of Cook, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen and Paul Collingwood in an unexpected blitz that revived the home team's hopes.

Cook (32) was the first to go, caught at gully by a diving Mike Hussey as he attempted to drive at the first ball of Johnson's seventh over.

The Australian took the catch low to the ground and Cook simply asked the fielder if he had caught it cleanly, accepting Hussey's word before heading off rather than challenging the decision.

Johnson was getting late swing and trapped Trott lbw for just four in his next over, before sending dangerman Kevin Pietersen, coming off a double-century in Adelaide, back to the pavilion, lbw for a duck to claim his third wicket in 12 balls.

Pietersen challenged the decision without success. Ryan Harris (3-59) then joined the party to remove Andrew Strauss, who should have been caught behind from the same bowler on 16, for 52.

When Collingwood (five) was given out lbw to the resurgent Johnson on a challenge by the Australians, England had lost five wickets for 20 runs to slip to 98-5.

England recovered slightly, but then lost their last four wickets for just six runs, with Johnson picking up Chris Tremlett and James Anderson to complete a stunning form reversal for both team and player.

(Published 17 December 2010, 05:06 IST)

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