Cricket: Johnson key in crushing Ashes win

By Ben Horne

Comeback bowler brings England to their knees, and next test set to turn nasty.

Mitchell Johnson of Australia celebrates after taking the wicket of James Anderson of England to claim victory. Photo / Getty Images
Mitchell Johnson of Australia celebrates after taking the wicket of James Anderson of England to claim victory. Photo / Getty Images

Mitchell Johnson holds the key to Australia's Ashes chances after his stunning career resurrection led the home side to a drought-breaking first test victory over England in Brisbane.

Australia took a commanding 1-0 lead after closing out an emphatic 381-run win by bowling England out for 179 late on day four at the Gabba.

The second test in Adelaide is set to be a spiteful affair, with Australian captain Michael Clarke getting into James Anderson's face right before the final wicket fell, telling the England fast bowler: "Get ready for a f***ing broken arm" as he prepared to face Johnson.

Spinner Nathan Lyon came into his own yesterday and Johnson (5-42) capped off his stunning test return to instigate another England collapse of 4-9 within 21 balls - following a 90-minute rain delay - to bring the Ashes-holders to their knees.

After a tumultuous year on and off the field where they sacked a coach and went nine consecutive tests without a win, Australia's performance was a flashback to the glory years.

The series is a long way from over, but only twice before has a side won the first test in Brisbane and not gone on to claim the Ashes.

After Johnson and the Australians decimated England with 6-9 in the first innings, it was deja vu in the final session on day four.

Second innings centurions David Warner and Michael Clarke would have been considered but Johnson presented an overwhelming case to be named man-of-the-match in one of Australian cricket's most important victories. His 64 and 39 not out with the bat and nine wickets marked one of the best allround performances in test history. Offspinner Lyon also turned a corner, snaring Alastair Cook and Matt Prior in quick succession yesterday.

Australia head to the second test in Adelaide with their tails up, while England contemplate concerning form lapses from key men Jonathan Trott, Prior and Graeme Swann.

Set a mammoth 561 to win, England opener Cook (65 off 195) played a fighting captain's knock.

A vicious hailstorm and then another rain interruption with England 8-160, threatened to push the match into a fifth day, before Harris and Johnson finished it off.

Australia in 1954-55 and England in 1936-37 are the only sides to win a first test in Brisbane and not go on to claim the Ashes.

After losing 4-0 in India and 3-0 in England, Australia have ended their longest winless streak since 1986.

AAP

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