Australian selectors will have a hard time denying Mitchell Johnson a spot in the team’s first 11 after the speed bowler claimed Man of the Match honours in Australia’s crushing defeat of Sri Lanka in the Boxing Day Test.
A broken and battered Sri Lanka were unable to survive day three, eventually losing by an innings and 201 runs in front of another big crowd at the MCG.
The 31-year-old Johnson took another two wickets and claimed another run out to go along with his unbeaten 92 in Australia’s lone innings. Johnson made his return to Test cricket in the third Test against South Africa earlier this month, but was left behind when Australia took on Sri Lanka last week in Hobart. He finished with figures of 6-79 at the MCG and his speed injured the hands of Sri Lankans Kumar Sangakkara and Dhammika Prasad.
Sangakkara, Sri Lanka’s lone respectable batter in the first innings, was forced to retire hurt on Friday after scoring 27 while Prassana Jayawardene (fractured thumb) and Chanaka Welegedara were unable to bat. At one point Sri Lanka sunk to a mirerable 3-3. Their first three batsman combined to score just two runs.
Johnson ran out Dimuth Karunaratne with a brilliant dive at the stumps from a Dave Warner bullet then removed Tillakaratne Dilshan for a first-ball duck, caught by Ed Cowan.
An injury depleted Sri Lanka will be forced to face Australia in a few days time in Sydney for the third and final Test.
In other big cricketing news, former Test hero Brett Lee has been charged for breaching Cricket Australia’s Code of Behaviour when he spoke out against NSW cricket chief executive David Gilbert.
Lee refused to apologise and went on Channel Nine’s Cricket Show yesterday to defend his comments.
"What I said I meant," he said. "I did it in the best interests of NSW cricket. I've loved playing every moment for NSW and I feel in the last five or six years it's gone off the boil."
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