Australia paceman Mitchell Johnson again found the WACA a happy hunting ground to inspire the hosts to a 57-run victory and a 6-1 series hammering of England in the seventh and final one day international yesterday.
Johnson ripped the heart out of the England batting with the key wickets of Jonathan Trott (14), Kevin Pietersen (26) and Ian Bell (8) as the tourists chased 280 for victory.
England, who arrived in Perth for the Ashes tour on Oct. 30, looked like a team at the end of a long, gruelling summer and, despite a bright unbeaten 60 from Michael Yardy, labored to 222 all out in 44 overs.
The tourists were already struggling by the time Johnson hit his stride with Andrew Strauss finishing his last match against Australia on this tour as he started the first — with dismissal for a duck in the opening over of his team’s innings.
Shaun Tait took away the top of the England skipper’s off stump with a fizzing second ball, a delivery fewer than it took Ben Hilfenhaus to dismiss Strauss in the first Ashes test at the Gabba.
Steven Davies, a surprise omission from the England World Cup squad, failed to embarrass the selectors by following his skipper to the changing room with a six-ball duck in the next over.
Johnson, so often the object of derision from England supporters over the campaign, then took charge with his impressive 3-18, while Tait chimed in with 3-48 and spinner Jason Krejza did his World Cup hopes no harm with 2-53.
Australia had made a pedestrian start to their innings before Adam Voges and David Hussey both hit half centuries and shared a partnership of 95 to bring the match to life.
Voges, a late call-up after Australia decided to rest captain Michael Clarke and Shane Watson, rattled off an unbeaten 80 from 72 balls with Hussey notching 60 at a run-a-ball.
Their partnership was ended when Hussey was caught by Bell after getting a leading edge to a Liam Plunkett delivery — one of two wickets for the seamer who was flown in from the West Indies after a rash of injuries to England bowlers.
Johnson had a short, but eventful knock of 26, being dropped by both James Anderson and Steve Finn before Matt Prior, relieved of his wicketkeeping duties in favour of Davies for the match, caught him superbly on the boundary.
Finn had earlier cleverly caught opener Brad Haddin for 27, throwing the ball into the air as he tumbled back over the boundary rope before recovering to take the catch infield.
Anderson completed his last bowling assignment of the long and mostly successful tour of Australia with 3-48, including the wicket of John Hastings who had dislocated a finger in the warm-up.
The International Cricket Council’s (ICC) chief executive Haroon Lorgat yesterday said three Pakistan players — Salman Butt, Mohammad Asif and Mohammad Aamer — were banned on solid proof of corruption.
“We are satisfied at the tribunal’s decision, which was taken on solid evidence and we hope with this decision the image of the game will improve,” Lorgat told a press conference in Doha.
Lorgat, who was accompanied by the head of the ICC’s Anti-Corruption and Security Unit, Ronnie Flanagan, was speaking a day after Butt, Aamer and Asif were handed lengthy bans for spot-fixing.
Butt was banned for 10 years, with five years suspended, while Asif and Aamer were handed bans of seven years with two suspended and five years respectively.