Mitchell Johnson’s brilliance with bat and ball inspired Australia to a four-wicket second Test victory over India and an unassailable 2-0 series lead at the Gabba in Brisbane.
Mitch Marsh hit the winning runs as Australia survived a few wobbles to chase down their target of 128 after tea on the fourth day of the contest but there was little doubt that two interventions from Johnson set up the victory.
On Friday, Australia were 247-6 chasing India’s first innings 408 when Johnson came out and smashed 88 runs from 93 balls in a Gabba record seventh-wicket stand of 148 with skipper Steve Smith that turned the match on its head.
On Saturday, India had resumed their second innings on 71-1 looking to quickly make up the 26-run deficit on Australia’s total of 505 and build another imposing score.
Half an hour later, their hopes were shattered as Johnson (4-61), ably assisted by debutant paceman Josh Hazlewood (2-74), ripped through the batting to leave India pondering yet another collapse at 87 for five.
In one dizzying 11-ball spell, Johnson took three for 10 by removing Virat Kohli (1), Ajinkya Rahane (10) and Rohit Sharma (0). Hazlewood, who took 5-68 in the first innings, removed India skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni for a duck in the next over.
“Mitch certainly turned it on for us in that little spell this morning, that really cracked the game open for us,” said Smith after tasting victory in his first match as captain in place of the injured Michael Clarke.
“All the bowlers, to be fair, produced the goods for us. I thought Joshy Hazlewood was outstanding and Nathan Lyon came on and did a job here and there.”
India 408 & 224 (Dhawan 81, Johnson 4-61)
Australia 505 & 130-6 (Rogers 55, Sharma 3-38)