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Fiery Mitchell Johnson rips into South African top order

Thursday, 13 February 2014 - 8:26pm IST | Agency: Reuters
  • Reuters

Australia's Mitchell Johnson showed his fiery bowling has not cooled since the Ashes with a trio of early wickets to leave South Africa reeling at 63 for four at tea on the second day of the first test at SuperSport Park on Thursday.

Johnson took the wicket of captain Graeme Smith with his fourth ball and had the home side's other opener, Alviro Petersen (2), caught behind in his third over in another devastating spell that followed on from his leading role in Australia's 5-0 whitewash of England.

Smith, whose hand was broken twice by Johnson in tests in Sydney and Durban five years ago, had made 10 when he tried to evade a short ball and top-edged it high, allowing Shaun Marsh to scramble backwards from first slip for a brilliant catch.

Faf du Plessis (3), promoted to No.4 in the order after the retirement of Jacques Kallis, lasted only five balls before being caught by Michael Clarke at first slip off a rising delivery in Johnson's fourth over.

It left South Africa in trouble at 23-3 in response to Australia's first innings tally of 397 all out.

Hashim Amla and AB de Villiers sought to steady the innings, but Amla was trapped leg before wicket by Peter Siddle after a 20-run partnership to depart for 17.

He was hit two-thirds of the way up his pads but the dismissal was given only after Australia asked for a review of umpire Aleem Dar's original not-out decision.

Johnson returned for a second spell before tea but was hit for a six by De Villiers as South Africa reached 50. De Villiers was 25 not out and JP Duminy unbeaten on five at the break.

Australia, who went to lunch on 374-7, lost their last three wickets soon after the start of the second session, with Dale Steyn claiming two more wickets to finish with four for 78.

The tourists, though, had added 100 more potentially priceless runs to their overnight tally of 297-4.

Steve Smith (100) took almost an hour at the start of the second day to get the nine runs needed to complete his fourth century, but lasted two more balls after reaching the landmark.

Marsh, who was 122 overnight, eventually fell for a test-high of 148 in a stylish knock three days after arriving as a late call-up for the injured Shane Watson.

Johnson contributed a valuable 33 with the bat, his swashbuckling knock prefacing another fine performance with the ball in his hand against the top-ranked test nation.
 


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