India face big defeat after magic Johnson strikes

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Old 20-Dec-2014
India face big defeat after magic Johnson strikes

A magical early spell from Mitchell Johnson fired Australia to the brink of victory and an unassailable 2-0 series lead, with India clinging on at 157 for seven at lunch on the fourth day of the second Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Saturday.

The ICC Cricketer of the Year reprised the onslaught that drove his country to victory in the opening Ashes Test at the same ground last year to help leave India with a lead of just 60 over Australia's first innings tally of 505.

India resumed on 71-1 without opener Shikhar Dhawan, who was injured warming up in the nets which prompted the India team to complain about the state of the practice pitches, looking to erase the last 26 runs off their first innings deficit and build another imposing tally to match their first innings 408.

They lost Virat Kohli, Ajinkya Rahane, Rohit Sharma and skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni in the first 20 minutes, however, and crept into credit just before Ravichandran Ashwin joined his team mates in the dressing room.

Dhawan's trip to the hospital for X-rays on his injured right wrist was hurriedly cancelled and he rejoined Cheteshwar Pujara in the middle to see out the session with 41 runs on the board.

Pujara had brought the only solidity to the innings but he too departed just before the break for 43, giving debutant Josh Hazlewood his second victim of the day and bringing in tail-ender Umesh Yadav (seven not out).

Backing up the pugnacious innings of 88 that brought Australia back into the match on Friday, paceman Johnson came out firing and blitzed the tourists with three wickets for 10 runs in 11 balls.

Kholi, who had come out in place of Dhawan despite also being hit in the nets before play, chopped on for one with the first ball of Johnson's second over with Rahane (10) popping the ball up for Nathan Lyon at backward point and Rohit Sharma caught behind for a duck in his third.

Debutant paceman Hazlewood, who took five for 68 in the first innings, pitched in on the second ball of the following over to trap Dhoni leg before for a duck.

Ashwin lasted 29 balls and made 19 runs when he followed caught behind off left-arm quick Mitchell Starc, a decision that looked unfortunate with television replays suggesting there had been no contact with the bat.

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