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Hostile Johnson turns it around for Aussies

Mitchell Johnson was Australia's inspiration on the second day of the second Test.

Reuters |March 8, 2009, 7:07 AM IST
Hostile Johnson turns it around for Aussies

Durban: Mitchell Johnson was Australia's inspiration on the second day of the second Test against South Africa on Saturday, said team-mate Andrew McDonald.

McDonald picked up three for 25 but it was a hostile bowling performance by left-arm paceman Johnson that played the biggest role as South Africa struggled to 138 for seven in reply to Australia's 352 all out.

"Mitchell came out with his tail up," McDonald told reporters. "He always has fire in his belly and he came crashing in. After his two wickets in the first over the team were definitely up and then when he forced a couple of batsmen to retire hurt it gave us a great deal of momentum."

Captain Graeme Smith and South Africa's all-time leading run-scorer Jacques Kallis had to go to hospital after being hit by deliveries from Johnson.

Smith, who retired hurt on two and is unlikely to bat again in the three-match series, fractured his little finger.

Kallis needed three stitches below his chin before returning to the crease. But he lasted only two balls before falling to McDonald for 22.

Ben Hilfenhaus, who took the new ball alongside Johnson, also removed the dangerous AB de Villiers for three.

"Our opening bowlers stepped up to the plate and put a hole in them early," said McDonald.

More Runs

"We would have liked to score more runs at the start of the day and after South Africa had taken six wickets for 23 runs we really wanted to halt their momentum."

Johnson removed Neil McKenzie and Hashim Amla for ducks and Mark Boucher for one to take three for 37 in 16 overs.

Spinner Paul Harris said the home side, already 1-0 down in the series, could still save the match.

JP Duminy (73) and Dale Steyn (eight) were the not out batsmen at the close, the same pair who engineered South Africa's series-clinching victory in Melbourne in December with a ninth-wicket stand of 180.

"It's going to be tougher than Melbourne because the pitch is not as good," said Harris. "We'll have to bat for our lives. We're going to have to play the best we have in either the home or away series to save the game but we enjoy a scrap and hopefully we can scrap our way through this Test."

Team Rankings

Rank Team Points Rating
1 India 5211 116
2 New Zealand 3959 110
3 Australia 4320 108
4 England 5253 105
5 South Africa 3537 98
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 England 6967 124
2 India 7939 118
3 New Zealand 5347 116
4 South Africa 5602 112
5 Australia 5915 110
see more
Rank Team Points Rating
1 Pakistan 8926 270
2 Australia 7815 269
3 England 6407 267
4 India 12141 264
5 South Africa 6220 259
see more