Birmingham - Mitchell Johnson became just the fifth Australia bowler to take
300 Test wickets as he hauled his side back into the third Ashes Test against
England at Edgbaston on Thursday.
Left-arm fast bowler Johnson had started the match on 299 wickets but met
with no success in his five overs on Wednesday's first day at Edgbaston after
Australia had collapsed to 136 all out.
But his third ball on Thursday saw Johnson to the 300 mark with a superb
lifting delivery that recalled England batsman Jonny Bairstow, averaging over
100 in county cricket this season, could only fend off the glove to
wicket-keeper Peter Nevill for five.
Two balls later, Johnson had his 301st Test wicket as a similar delivery had
all-rounder Ben Stokes caught behind for a duck.
Johnson had taken two wickets for no runs in three balls, with England now
142 for five - just nine runs in front.
Only leg-spin great Shane Warne and fast bowlers Glenn McGrath, Dennis
Lillee and Brett Lee had previously taken 300 Test wickets for Australia.
Johnson's 69-Test career has not been one of uninterrupted progress, with
the 33-year-old mocked mercilessly by visiting fans when he lost control of
both line and length during England's 2010/11 Ashes series win in Australia.
But it was a very different story in 2013/14 when he took 37 wickets at
under 14 apiece as Australia regained the Ashes with a 5-0 rout of their
However, that didn't stop England fans making Johnson their 'pantomime
villain' of choice when he conceded 111 runs without taking a wicket in the
first innings of Australia's 169-run defeat in the first Test of the current
series in Cardiff.
Johnson, however, showed signs of this best form during this month's second
Test at Lord's where he led Australia's pace attack in a 405-run thrashing of
England that levelled the five-match contest at 1-1 ahead of the Edgbaston
Australia bowlers with 300 or more Test wickets (total Test wickets, bowler):
708 - Shane Warne
563 - Glenn McGrath
355 - Dennis Lillee
310 - Brett Lee
301 - Mitchell Johnson
Note: Johnson's tally as at his dismissal of Stokes.