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Johnson and Harris rip through Poms to level the series

Australia have leveled the Ashes series at 1-1 following some fantastic bowling from Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris, and strong batting from Mike Hussey.

Despite crashing to five down at lunch on the first day, Australia fought back, firstly through Hussey, Brad Haddin, and Johnson with the bat, before Johnson bowled what captain Ricky Ponting described as ‘one of the best spells in Ashes history’ on day 2, grabbing 6/38, to give the Aussies a lead on the first innings. He was ably supported by Harris, who took 3/59.

Australia’s top order then faltered again in the second innings, before Shane Watson and Mike Hussey recovered the innings, with Watson (93) falling for the fourth time in the 90s, whilst Hussey (116) grabbed his second century of the series, and passed 500 runs for the series at the same time. This is made even more remarkable given the fact that Hussey came into the series under immense pressure.

Harris (6/47) and Johnson (3/44) rattled the supposedly unstoppable English batting line-up in the second innings, rolling them for just 123, and finishing the match before lunch on the fourth day. Both players ended the match with 9 wickets each, capping off the massive turn-around for Johnson, who only two tests ago in Brisbane ended with 0-171, and a 19 ball duck.

The victory leveled the series, and gave Australia the initiative leading into the Boxing Day Test at the MCG. Captain Ricky Ponting is in some doubt following a fractured finger attempting a catch in the slips, but is expected to play. The success also leads to some good selection headaches for Boxing Day, with a specialist spinner required, and the four-pronged bowling attack performing at the WACA. Michael Beer is expected to come into the 11, despite back-to-back Sheffield Shield centuries and a four wicket haul for Nathan Hauritz, with either Ben Hilfenhaus or local hero Peter Siddle to carry the drinks.

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