Mitchell Johnson reduces England to 8-160 before storm

4.35PM AUSTRALIA is on the verge of going one-nil up in the Ashes series after left-arm paceman Mitchell Johnson reduced England to 8-160 before a second storm hit the Gabba.

Johnson continued his spectacular performance in the Test by removing skipper Alastair Cook (65), Graeme Swann (0) and Stuart Broad (4) in quick succession after 90 break following the first storm.

He had figures of 4-40 when the players came off.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon (2-44) chipped in with the wicket of wicketkeeper Matt Prior (4) as the tourists, lost 4 wickets for only nine runs.

Joe Root is unbeaten on 15 while Chris Tremlett is on one.

2.13PM RAIN has saved England at the Gabba - for a while.

The players are off with England on 4-142 chasing a mammoth 561 to win.

Captain Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 65 while Joe Root is on six.

The only wicket to fall since lunch was that of Ian Bell, caught behind by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 32 off the bowling of Peter Siddle.

The Barmy Army trumpeter is entertaining the sparse crowd by playing singing in the rain.

Richard Harvey

12.03PM: AUSSIE paceman Mitchell Johnson made sure England would not reach lunch unscathed on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.


Johnson took the only wicket to fall, that of Kevin Pietersen for 26, as England finished the morning session on 3-98.

Captain Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 40 and Ian Bell 20.

Pietersen was caught at deep backward square leg by substitute fielder, Queensland Bulls squad member and Brisbane Heat BBL representative Chris Sabburg, second ball after drinks.

England, who resumed on 2-24 this morning, is chasing 561 to win. No side in history have scored more than 418 in the fourth innings to win a Test.

The only disappointment for Aussie captain Michael Clarke and his players must be the lack of home fans at the Gabba given his side is pushing for its first Ashes win in eight Tests.

11.05AM: ENGLAND has survived the opening hour without losing a wicket on the fourth day of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

Set a monstrous 561 to win, England was 2-71 with captain Alastair Cook unbeaten on 35 and Kevin Pietersen on 26.

CLOSE DAY 3 England will need to fashion the highest successful run chase in Test history to beat Australia in the first Test at the Gabba.

Centuries to opener David Warner and skipper Michael Clarke yesterday all but took the match away from the visitors, who at stumps were 2-24 and needing another 537 runs for victory.

After resuming on 0-65 in its second innings and already boasting a 224-run lead, Australia batted with vigour before declaring on 7-401 - an intimidating advantage of 560 runs.

Warner said after stumps: "The last six months, I've worked on just waiting for the ball a lot more, being a bit stiller (sic) at the release of the ball as well.

"I'm watching it hard at the moment and hopefully I can keep the form up."

Australia lost two wickets in the morning session, opener Chris Rogers playing a lazy cut off Chris Broad to fall for a painstaking 16 and No.3 Shane Watson (6) caught off the bowling of Chris Tremlett.

However, in-form Warner (124 off 154 balls) and captain Clarke (113 off 130) were ruthless in their treatment of the English bowlers.

They shared a 164-run stand before the former dabbed at a ball outside off and was caught behind off the bowling of Broad (2-55).

Steve Smith was out for a duck when Tremlett (3-69) had him caught behind, and Clarke's dashing innings was brought undone when Swann got through a gap.

Swann (2-135) struck again when he bowled George Bailey (34).

But Brad Haddin produced another impressive knock (53 off 55 balls) to continue Australia's charge before he was caught at cover off the bowling of Tremlett.

The declaration came out about 4.30pm, with Mitch Johnson unbeaten on 39, and Clarke's troops wasted no time in taking to the England top order.

Ryan Harris claimed the early scalp of Michael Carberry, bowling him for a duck, and Johnson snared the wicket of an out-of-sorts Jonathan Trott (9), who hooked the ball straight to Lyon in the outfield.

The highest successful run chase in Test history is the West Indies' 7-418 to beat Australia in Antigua a decade ago.

Australian batsmen Michael Clarke plays a shot during day three of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at the Gabba Cricket Ground.
Australian batsmen Michael Clarke plays a shot during day three of the first Ashes cricket Test match between England and Australia at the Gabba Cricket Ground. Saeed Khan

"I felt highly respected there," Warner quipped. "Obviously wanted Broady fresh and wanted him to go hard at Michael. Michael counteracted that and almost scored a run-a-ball hundred. He led from the front."

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5.39PM ENGLAND'S woeful Test record at the Gabba looks set to continue after a pathetic batting performance on day two of the first Ashes Test today.

After dismissing Australia for 295, England, which has won just four out of the 19 Tests it has played in Brisbane, was ruthlessly bundled out for 136, after losing an unbelievable six wickets for only nine runs before tea.

That gave Australia a 159-run lead, but there was to be no let up from Michael Clarke's side come the end of play - they had England by the throat and intend to keep it that way.

Openers David Warner (45 not out) and Chris Rogers (15 not out ) piled on the runs, and the agony, for the tourists with an unbeaten 64-run stand, to extend the lead to 224.

It was England's worst batting collapse since they capitulated against Australia at the MCG in 1990 when they lost six wickets for three runs.

Led by hostile pacemen, Mitchell Johnson (4-61) and Ryan Harris (3-28), and spinner Nathan Lyon (2-17), who was on a hat-trick at one stage, Australia ripped through the Englishmen in just 52.4 overs.

The total was England's fifth-lowest innings score at the Gabba, and worst since 2002 when they scored just 79.
Michael Carberry (40) and Stuart Broad (32) were the only batsmen to offer any sign of resistance as Johnson, Harris, and Lyon combined to put Australia in total control.

England had been well placed 2-82 at one stage early in the afternoon session before the stunning collapse.
Lyon removed Ian Bell (5) and wicketkeeper Matt Prior (0) in successive balls to send the Aussies in the crowd wild, while leaving the English fans shaking their heads in disbelief at the horror show.

It was Prior's second consecutive golden duck at the Gabba after he was Peter Siddle's second victim in his hat-trick in the corresponding game in 2010.

There was also no joy for Kevin Pietersen, who appeared not to write his own script as there was no hundred for him in his 100th Test, at least not in the first innings, after Harris dismissed him for 18.

Earlier, Australia added 22 runs to its overnight total as Broad finished with 6-81.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin top-scored with 94 before being the last man out after he was run-out going for a second run.

2.48PM ENGLAND was on the ropes as Australia prepared to deliver the knockout blow at tea on day two of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba.

Resuming at 2-55 after lunch, England sensationally crashed to 8-94 after losing six wickets for nine runs at one stage, in reply to Australia's 295.

Paceman Mitchell Johnson led the rout taking the wickets of opener Michael Carberry (40), Joe Root (2), and Graeme Swann (0) to have figures of 4-46 after he had earlier got rid of Jonathan Trott (10) in the last over before lunch.

Spinner Nathan Lyon also came to the party, dismissing Ian Bell (5) and Matt Prior (0) in successive balls before Stuart Broad survived the hat-trick.

Kevin Petersen appeared not to write his own script as there was no glory hundred for him in his 100th Test, at least not in the first innings, after Ryan Harris (2-25) dismissed him for 18.

Broad was unbeaten on 4 while Chris Tremlett (1) is the other not out batsman.

England needs two runs to avoid the follow-on.

12.10PM AUSTRALIAN paceman Mitchell Johnson struck a huge blow just before lunch, dismissing Jonathan Trott for 10, as England reached 2-55 in reply to Australia's 295.

Earlier, Ryan Harris had got rid of England captain Alastair Cook after having the opener caught behind by wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 13.

Cook's opening partner Michael Carberry was unbeaten on 31.

Haddin top-scored with 94 in Australia's innings, before being run-out.

He was so far out the third umpire wasn't required and  he kept running all the way to the pavilion.

England paceman Stuart Broad, who finished with 6-81, led his side off, showing the ball to all corners of the sun-kissed Gabba.

There were plenty of boos, but Broad's smile said it all.

FRIDAY 11.03AM ENGLAND paceman Stuart Broad struck early on day two of the first Ashes Test at the Gabba, taking a sixth wicket, as Australia was dismissed for 295.

Broad had Ryan Harris caught by wicketkeeper Matt Prior for 9 to finish with figures of 6-81.

Aussie wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was the last man out, run out for 94 from 152 balls.

5.55PM ENGLAND captain Alastair Cook urged his players to storm the Gabba fortress and end Australia's dominance there ahead of the opening Ashes Test.

And it was Aussie public enemy No.1, paceman Stuart Broad, who responded to Cook's battle cry in stunning fashion on day one, taking 5-65 off 20 overs to help restrict Australia to 8-273 at a venue where the home side hasn't lost in 25 years.

Broad, labelled a sook by Aussie opener David Warner, a cheat by Aussie coach Darren Lehmann, Stuart Fraud by a Brisbane newspaper, and booed every time he touched the ball, bowled with pace, hostility and control.

He ripped the heart of the Australian top-order, taking the first four wickets, before completing his 11th Test five-wicket haul by bowling Mitchell Johnson (64) late in the day.

Johnson had shared a 114-run partnership with wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, who playing in his 50th Test, is doing his best to repel the tourists with a fighting unbeaten 78.

It was just what Australia needed after Broad drew first blood to give his side early hope of winning in Brisbane for the first time since 1986 by taking the first four wickets.

After sending down a no-ball with his opening delivery of the series and watching it smashed for four by Warner, Broad hit back by dismissing openers Chris Rogers (1) and Warner (49), Shane Watson (22) and captain Michael Clarke (1).

Debutant George Bailey lasted on 15 balls, making just three before becoming the first of James Anderson (2-61) victims.

Chris Tremlett (1-51) took the other wicket to fall, that of Steven Smith (31).

Queenslander Chris Sabburg, who is yet to represent the Bulls at Shield or domestic one-day level, but is known for his fielding prowess has replaced Tasmanian all-rounder James Faulkner as 12th man.

Faulkner will now play in the Sheffield Shield clash against South Australia in Adelaide.

Before play started, batsman Kevin Pietersen was presented with a silver cap to mark becoming the 10th player to play 100 Tests for England.

The nine to previously reach the milestone are Graham Thorpe, Andrew Strauss, Ian Botham, Geoffrey Boycott, Colin Cowdrey, Mike Atherton, David Gower, Graham Gooch and Alec Stewart, who holds the record with 133.

Alastair Cook will become the 11th member of the elite club in the third Test at the WACA next month.

2.46PM AUSTRALIA is deep in trouble on 6-153 at tea on day one of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba.

England paceman Stuart Broad had the impressive figures of four for 49, while fellow quicks  James Anderson and Chris Tremlett also picked up a wicket each.

Wicketkeeper Brad Haddin was 24 not out, while Mitchell Johnson was unbeaten on 11.

Australia had been 2-71 at lunch before losing opener David Warner (49), captain Michael Clarke (1), debutant George Bailey (3), and Steve Smith (31) in the afternoon session.

EARLIER: AUSTRALIA'S public enemy No.1, England paceman Stuart Broad, silenced the boos ringing around the Gabba by striking twice on the first morning of the opening Ashes Test.

After sending down a no-ball with his opening delivery of the series and watching it smashed for four by David Warner, Broad hit back by taking both wickets to fall as Australia reached 2-71 at lunch.

He had veteran opener Chris Rogers caught in the gully by Ian Bell for one with only his eighth ball in the fourth over of the day.

And then, on the stroke of lunch, Broad removed Shane Watson for 22, caught at second slip by Graeme Swann, with just three balls left in the session.

Warner was 42 not out off 68 balls, including six fours, while captain Michael Clarke was yet to score.

Tasmanian all-rounder James Faulkner has been relieved of the 12th man duties and has been replaced Queenslander Chris Sabburg.