The Australian bowlers have turned the first Ashes Test on its head, ripping through the heart of the English batting line up to leave them reeling at 8-94 at tea.
In a frantic 30 minute period leading into the tea break at the Gabba, Australia took 4-2 in eight balls, capping off a dominant passage of cricket that saw the home side take 6-9 off 9.3 overs.
Golden duck: Steve Smith of Australia dives to take the catch to remove Matt Prior. Photo: Getty Images
It was Mitchell Johnson (4-46 off 13 overs) who did the bulk of the damage, producing a lethal spell of pace bowling to knock over three of England’s top six batsmen.
Johnson dismissed Jonathan Trott with the final ball before lunch, then bowled his best spell of the Test after the break to remove Michael Carberry (40), Joe Root (2) and Graeme Swann (0).
Replays later showed Swann was dismissed on a no-ball, with Johnson – who was left out of the last Ashes series in England – over stepping the crease.
Mitchell Johnson of Australia celebrates after dismissing Michael Carberry. Photo: Getty Images
But it wasn’t just the Aussie quicks enjoying success against England, with Nathan Lyon (2-7 off seven overs) on a hat-trick mid-way through the second day’s play after removing Ian Bell and Matt Prior in successive balls.
But England’s six wicket hero Stuart Broad – the third wicket of Peter Siddle’s hat-trick at the same ground three years ago – left a wide ball from Lyon to deny the off-spinner of the rare feat.
Peter Siddle dropped a caught and bowled opportunity from Kevin Pietersen, who was only on eight runs at the time, but Ryan Harris struck shortly after to dismiss him for 18.
Australia celebrate the dismissal of England batsman Kevin Pietersen. Photo: AFP
The ever reliable Harris (2-25 off 12) also picked up the prized wicket of English skipper Alastair Cook for 13 in the first session.
The Australians added just 22 runs for the last two wickets of their innings to be bowled out for 295, but the wickets of English captain Cook and Trott before lunch put the hosts on top.
It’s the sixth time in eight Tests Harris has snared the wicket of the English skipper, who scored 766 runs at an average of 127.66 the last time in Australia, finding the edge of his bat on the way through to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for the fourth time in Test cricket.
Teammates celebrate with Australia’s pacemen Ryan Harris after claiming the wicket of England captain Alastair Cook. Photo: SAEED KHAN
After producing 64 with the bat to rescue Australia from a dire position on the opening day, Johnson, renowned for producing rocks or diamonds, strayed several balls down the leg side in the opening session and rarely troubled the Englishmen, but his final few overs before lunch provided Trott with some uncomfortable moments
The day didn’t begin well for Australia this morning when the destroyer from the opening day, Stuart Broad (6-81 off 24), picked up his sixth wicket of the innings removing Ryan Harris, who edged through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior for nine.
Nathan Lyon came to the crease with Brad Haddin unbeaten on 82, but with the veteran just six runs away from his fourth Test century, a suicidal second run attempt saw him swap the batting pads for wicketkeeping variety.