Sun, Jun 15, 2008 - Page 20 News List

Johnson puts Aussies back on top


Mitchell Johnson captured a Test career best four wickets for 41 runs from 11.5 overs to help Australia take a 35-run, first innings lead over the West Indies in the third and final Test on Friday.

Left-arm fast bowler Johnson bowled easily his best spell in the series to allow Australia to dismiss West Indies for 216, replying to the visitors’ first innings total of 251, on the second day of the Test at the Kensington Oval.

Australia’s fast bowling spearhead Brett Lee gave Johnson support with three for 64 from 15 overs.

But it was Johnson who triggered a dramatic West Indies batting collapse that saw the home team lose their last six wickets for 48 runs in the space of 86 balls.

The Aussies were again denied having things all their way by left-hander Shivnarine Chanderpaul, whose unbeaten 79 in close to four hours of defiant batting was the top score for the West Indies.

Like Australia the previous day, a few of the other West Indies batsmen got starts, but they failed to carry on, with Xavier Marshall making 39, Dwayne Bravo getting 29 and Ramnaresh Sarwan 20.

In an hour before stumps were drawn, left-handed openers Phil Jaques, not out 13, and Simon Katich, unbeaten on 17, carried the Australians to 35 without loss in their second innings to extend the visitors’ lead to 70.

The first hour-and-a-half after tea proved to be crucial for Australia, after the West Indies reached 167 for four at the break. Johnson had Bravo caught behind down the leg-side in the second over after the break, and his dismissal opened the floodgates for the Aussies, after the West Indies all-rounder and Chanderpaul had added 60 for the fifth wicket.

Johnson had further success and prolonged Denesh Ramdin’s dry spell with the bat when he had the West Indies wicketkeeper caught at second slip for 1.

Australia made sure there was no come back from the rest of the West Indies’ batting — Jerome Taylor, Sulieman Benn, Daren Powell, and Fidel Edwards — despite a couple of dropped catches by Katich at first slip off Johnson.

Australia had earlier been dismissed about 1 hour, 40 minutes before lunch, after they continued from their overnight total of 226 for seven in their first innings. Edwards made the breakthrough, having Test newcomer Beau Casson leg before wicket for 10. Johnson was caught at gully for a duck fending away a lifting delivery from Taylor, who was the pick of the West Indies bowlers with three for 46 from 12 overs.

The Aussie innings came to a close when Edwards bowled Stuart Clark for 1 to end with three for 55 from 17 overs.

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