Sport

Johnson becomes 14th player to join the 200-wicket club

Mitchell Johnson of Australia takes the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene of Sri Lanka during day one of the Second Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26 in Melbourne.
Mitchell Johnson of Australia takes the wicket of Prasanna Jayawardene of Sri Lanka during day one of the Second Test match between Australia and Sri Lanka at Melbourne Cricket Ground on December 26 in Melbourne. Robert Cianflone - Getty Images

FORMER Queensland fast bowler Mitchell Johnson knows a bowler-friendly Gabba wicket when he sees one.

And he saw one yesterday ... at the MCG.

Speaking after celebrating his recall to the Australian side by taking 4-63 as Sri Lanka was skittled for a disappointing 156, Johnson said he expected the pitch, like the one in Brisbane, to settle down and make life harder for the bowlers.

"It looked very much like a Gabba wicket," he said.

"It did do a little bit early ... I think it's going to be a very good wicket tomorrow. It will quicken up and play really well."

Johnson's haul saw him become the 14th player to join the illustrious 200-wicket club, thanks to an outstanding running catch by wicketkeeper Matthew Wade to dismiss top scorer Kumar Sangakkara for 58.

The Sri Lankan joined his own elite club when he passed 40, becoming just the 11th player in Test history, and second Sri Lankan behind captain Mahela Jayawardene, to reach the 10,000-mark.

Johnson acknowledged Sangakkara had been one of the few batsmen to put a high price on their wicket.

"Sangakkara dug in ... batted very well," Johnson said.

"There were a few shots they probably should not have played, but we still had to put the ball in the right areas.

"I thought all of our bowlers bowled exceptionally well."

As well as passing the 200 wicket barrier, Johnson was on a hat-trick after dismissing Prasanna Jayawardena and Dhammika Prasad in consecutive balls.

Unfortunately he missed his chance by bowling a no-ball, saying the crowd noise had been so loud he almost stopped half-way through his run-up.

"It's great to have personal milestones. I was pretty nervous in my first over today. I've never bowled first in a Boxing Day Test ... I think this is my fifth," Johnson said.

"Once I got past the first over I was fine."

More milestones could be on the way today with skipper Michael Clarke poised to pass Ricky Ponting's Australian record of 1544 runs in a calendar year.

Clarke could also become just the fourth player in Test history to average more than 100 runs per innings in a calendar year.

The other three were Don Bradman, Sir Garfield Sobers and Ponting.

Topics:  boxing day test, cricket, mitchell johnson


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