Some lightning-fast bowling from Mitchell Johnson at a hail-hit Gabba propelled Australia to a comprehensive 381-run win over England with a day to spare in the Ashes series opener.
After two rain interruptions, including a hail storm that scattered the crowd on day four, Johnson took five wickets as Australia dismissed England for 179 in the second innings late Sunday to claim its first victory in 10 test matches.
There were some heated verbal exchanges and finger pointing between opposing players, setting up what should be a hotly contested five-test series. Only three months after retaining the Ashes 3-0 at home, England came to Australia aiming to win the “old urn” for a fourth straight series for the first time since the 1800s.
But Australia hadn’t lost a test in Brisbane since 1988, was desperate to start the summer with a big win at its traditional series-opening venue and give Darren Lehmann his first win since taking over as coach before the last Ashes series.
“As a team, (we’ve) copped a fair bit of criticism of late, and our performances have probably deserved that,” Australia captain Michael Clarke said. “The win is very important, very special to us, and it’s a great way to start the series.
But, “we know there’s a long way to go. We’d be very silly to be overexcited with what’s just happened.”
Johnson, recalled to the Australian lineup after missing selection for the last tour to England, took five wickets in the second innings and four in the first, as well as contributing a half century and an unbeaten 39 with the bat in a man-of-the-match performance.
Fittingly, he finished it off with a caught-and-bowled dismissal to remove No. 11 batsman Jimmy Anderson. The Australians bowled England out twice for under 180.
“Obviously it’s going to hurt us, this game, but we’ve got plenty of character,” England captain Alastair Cook said.
“It’s just one loss, it’s a five-match test series so there’s plenty of time to fight back. We’ll go away, regroup, be honest with ourselves and come back. We’ve done it before. There won’t be any hiding.”