Johnson helps Australia turn tables in the Ashes

GREG BUCKLE
Last updated 01:54 18/12/2013
Mitchell Johnson
Getty Images
TURNING THE TABLES: Mitchell Johnson has averaged 49 with the bat and taken 23 wickets in the first three Ashes tests.

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Mitchell Johnson's batting average of 49 for the Ashes series places him above all the England players, and fourth among the Australians.

If you throw in the fact he's bowled at terrifying speeds of over 150 km/h and claimed 23 wickets at 15.47, you start to get the picture of how much the 32-year-old has dominated the series so far.

The Barmy Army took great joy in poking fun at the wayward left-armer during the 2009 Ashes series. And again in 2010/11.

But how the tables were turned on Tuesday.

Johnson and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin immediately turned to the Barmy Army fans during Tuesday's morning session after Johnson had claimed the key wicket of Matt Prior caught behind for 26.

England had resumed five down and seeking to hang on for a dramatic draw with another long day of batting.

But Johnson took three of the last five wickets to fall to help ensure a 150-run victory in the third Test as Australia clinched the Ashes.

England captain Alastair Cook, for one, was not surprised to see the 32-year-old Johnson impose himself on the contest.

"We've known when Mitch gets it right, he's a very good bowler," Cook said.

"Even when he was having that tough series in 2010/11, when he got it right here in Perth, he's a very tough bowler to face.

"He bowls quickly and he swings it, and that's a pretty good combination.

"Two-hundred-and-thirty odd wickets (228) suggests he's done it for a long period of time.

"When he gets it right, he's dangerous.

"It hasn't surprised he's taken wickets. I think it's surprised us the control he's had.

"He's managed to improve his control a lot since the last time we saw him."

Australia skipper Michael Clarke says despite the lure of the cracks in the WACA pitch, Johnson wasn't going for raw speed in Perth.

"His pace probably wasn't as high as the first two Test matches, but he executed with his skill and he's got natural variation," Clarke said.

"That's the class of Mitchell Johnson.

"He's been happy to bowl short spells and maximise his pace. Throughout this Test he's had to bowl long spells and be consistent, and he's been able to do that."

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