Seven-wicket Johnson demolishes Proteas
PERTH: Left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson single-handedly thrust Australia back into control of a gripping first Test match against South Africa, taking an incredible 5 for 2 in a devastating spell of bowling late on day two in Perth.
The Proteas were cruising towards stumps under the guardianship of AB de Villiers and Jacques Kallis, before Johnson cut a swathe through the middle order late in the final session to reduce the visitors to 8 for 243 at the close of play.
Johnson''s phenomenal bowling performance netted the wickets of de Villiers, Kallis, JP Duminy, Morne Morkel and Paul Harris in the space of 20 deliveries to finish the day with 7 for 42.
Mark Boucher (2 not out) and Dale Steyn (1 not out) will be charged with attempting to salvage something from the first innings when play resumes on day three, with South Africa still 132 runs in arrears of Australia''s first dig of 375.
For a statistical wrap of the second day''s play, visit our scorecard.
Australia''s newfound ascendancy was soured by a wrist injury to vice-captain Michael Clarke, who returned to the field late in the day after having x-rays taken at hospital.
Johnson''s major breakthrough came with the wicket of de Villiers for 63, snapping a dangerous 124-partnership with Kallis (63) that began during the middle session with South Africa under pressure at 3 for 110.
Kallis became Johnson''s next victim in the following over, the veteran all-rounder departing in similar fashion as he collected a thick edge through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin when attempting to drive the ball across the line.
Haddin and Johnson combined for a third time to end Duminy''s debut innings for a disappointing 1 when he edged the ball skywards wile trying to avoid a bouncer.
The left-armer''s searing pace and supreme confidence also got the better of Morkel and Harris, who were both out caught by spinner Jason Krejza.
Krejza (1 for 102) earlier celebrated his first Test wicket on Australian soil as he cleaned up Hashim Amla with a vicious off-break to end a 90-run partnership with Proteas skipper Graeme Smith.
An over later, Johnson claimed his second victim of the day when Smith played on from a well-pitched delivery wide of the off stump.
Smith and Amla came together after Johnson claimed his first victim when he removed Neil McKenzie for 2 to put South Africa on the back foot at 1 for 16 in the morning session.
South Africa then regained control as Smith and Amla marched towards their half-centuries and guided the visitors past the 100-mark.
The pair''s measured stand, which rapidly gained pace after a conservative start, steadied the South Africans back on course after a shaky start.
Frustrated pacemen Brett Lee (0 for 41) and Peter Siddle (0 for 43) both toiled without reward while Johnson took centre stage with his seven-wicket haul.