Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: England's short ball failings exposed by Mitchell Johnson
Mitchell Johnson rediscovered his X-factor to demolish England on day two, says Shane Warne.
Last Updated: 22/11/13 10:35am
Left-armer Johnson - playing his first Test since March - claimed 4-61 as the tourists lost six wickets for nine runs to collapse to 136 all out in response to Australia's first innings 295. The home side then reached 65-0 before stumps to establish an imposing lead of 224.
Warne told Sky Sports that England's inability to play the short ball could haunt them for the rest of the series.
"Australia had the X-factor of Mitchell Johnson bowling fast - he was bowling consistently around 90mph plus - and he got it right," said the former Australian spinner. "He looked a completely different bowler; there was no-one who really looked comfortable against the short ball.
"Jonathan Trott looked horribly uncomfortable and fell back into his old ways of walking so far across that he had no balance at the crease; it always looked like he was going to get out somewhere at leg slip or caught down the leg-side.
"Once that happened it was a huge moment - a bit like the day before when Shane Watson got out just before lunch - but I think that over shouldn't have happened. I think that Carberry and Trott should have tried a little bit harder to make sure Australia didn't get that over in. That triggered the collapse."
England appeared well-set at 82-2 after claiming the two wickets they required to wrap up Australia's first innings for the cost of 22 funs, Brad Haddin the last man out, run out for 94.
However the dismissal of Kevin Pietersen, who clipped Ryan Harris (3-28) to George Bailey at midwicket to fall for 18 in his 100th Test, sparked a dramatic collapse.
"I thought Australia bowled beautifully to Pietersen; he scored only 18 runs off 42 deliveries, which is un-Pietersen like," said Warne. "He usually attacks the bowling and puts all the pressure on them by looking to score all of the time. Then, I suppose, he was a bit unlucky because he hit the fielder.
"Michael Clarke has to take a bit of credit here. We all talk about batting in partnerships but it's important to get the combinations of the bowlers right. If you've got someone bowling 90mph plus and the spinner [Nathan Lyon] is bowling well at the other end, it's hard to play.
"I thought Lyon bowled with a lot of over-spin, which you have to do at the Gabba. Some of the dismissals looked soft but it was the bounce that undid them. The ball was coming out of Lyon's hand really nicely, it dipped on the batsman and bounced high for day two - nearly waist high."
England failed to make early in-roads into Australia's second innings as David Warner (45no off 55 balls) and Chris Rogers (15no) improved the home side's lead.
With the prospect of another long day in the field looming for England's bowlers on Saturday, Warne said the tourists will find it extremely tough to save the Test, not least because the pitch is deteriorating fast.
"I thought Australia's openers did well. England's bowlers looked a bit tired, which you can understand. I felt for England's bowlers because they've bowled both days of the Test match and they put so much in yesterday. They had Australia 6-132 before that late partnership between Johnson and Haddin.
"It was a good day for Australia and I believe the cracks on the wicket will open up, which is unusual - it hasn't happened here for a few years because there has been more grass on it.
"But because the surface is a little bit more dry and these two days have been hot, they will start to open up. The wicket is getting worse and there are three days left in the game.
"England are a long way behind and Australia have kept the wood on Alastair Cook, Jonathan Trott and Matt Prior - three key players for England. That's really important for the rest of the series."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2 from 10am - and On Demand from 6.30pm - before The Ashes Verdict (9pm) and Ashes Extra (11pm) hit your screens ahead of coverage of day three, from 11.30pm - also on Sky Sports 2.