Mitchell Johnson the 'intimidator' makes short work of South Africa
Sunday 16 February 2014
Mitchell Johnson proved the destroyer again yesterday as Australia's ferocious left-arm fast bowler skittled the hosts South Africa for a second time in the match. Michael Clarke's team won by the First Test by 281 runs with a day to spare to take a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series against the No 1 Test nation, further underlining their rising status following the recent Ashes whitewash Down Under.
Johnson, who also took seven wickets in the first innings, ended up with match figures of 12 for 127. The home side appeared as hapless as England had been against the sheer speed and bounce of Johnson. Only AB de Villiers managed to stand up to him for any length of time, top-scoring again in the second innings with 48 to add to his heroic 91 runs in the first. But Graeme Smith's side were dismissed for 200 with Johnson taking 5 for 59.
Clarke made an early declaration on day four, calling in his batsmen at 290 for 4 immediately after Shaun Marsh was caught behind off Dale Steyn for 44. That left South Africa with an all but impossible target of 482.
Johnson rapidly accounted for both openers inside the first four overs. Alviro Petersen was the first to go, caught behind in Johnson's first over, and Smith fell in his next, well caught at backward short leg by Alex Doolan, to leave his side reeling at 12 for 2.
Peter Siddle then had Faf du Plessis trapped lbw, before Ryan Harris claimed his first victim of the match when he had Hashim Amla caught at slip.
Johnson returned to dispose of JP Duminy – to another stunning catch at short leg by Alex Doolan – and Ryan McLaren in quick succession, falling to another snorter, before ending De Villiers' resistance when he drove to Steve Smith at short cover.
Siddle bowled Robin Peterson with a ball that kept low and after Harris removed Steyn, Morne Morkel brought South Africa's efforts to a suitably unedifying end by being run out.
Johnson was modest about his own achievements afterwards, giving the credit to his team-mates. "We set the game up with our batters," he said. "We bowled really well as a team. We felt there was a little in the wicket, we saw Morne [Morkel] get some bounce.
"When plans come off it's really nice. I was very nervous and pumped up for this match, so to come out and do this is very good. I'm here to be the intimidator which is what I have done here. Now we have an extra day to get back up for it."
Smith was honest about the poor performance, saying: "It's very disappointing. We've been outplayed from the word go. Probably one of the most disappointing four days we've had as a team. We need to reflect, train hard and perform much better."
Clarke was pleased that his side had reproduce their form overseas. "The greatest test for us right now is being able to consistently win away from home," he said. He will hope to wrap up the series in the Second Test in Port Elizabeth, which begins on Thursday.
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