ADELAIDE, Dec 6 (R) – A fired-up Mitchell Johnson dismissed England captain Alastair Cook cheaply in a hammer blow for the tourists after Australia declared for a mammoth first innings of 570 to be firmly in control after day two of the second Ashes test on Friday.
A day that began with promise for England quickly unravelled in the field as Australia captain Michael Clarke and his deputy Brad Haddin scored centuries in a record sixth-wicket partnership at Adelaide Oval.
Adding insult to injury, Clarke, who struck 148 for his second ton in successive tests, waited until 34-year-old paceman Ryan Harris had compiled his second test fifty before declaring on 570-9 after tea in glorious sunshine.
Johnson then captured the key wicket of Cook for three, beating the England skipper for pace with a searing delivery that knocked over his off-stump and sent a raucous crowd of over 35,000 into paroxysms of delight.
Opener Michael Carberry (20 not out), and Joe Root (nine not out), promoted to number three in place of the departed Joanathan Trott, dug in grimly in the final hour to carry England to 35-1 at the close, still 535 shy of Australia’s total.
Despite losing the toss, England battled hard to earn a share the spoils on Thursday’s opening day, but squandered their opportunity on an overcast morning when play resumed at 273-5.
Having dropped three catches on Thursday, the tourists committed a number of howlers in the field to allow Clarke and Haddin to notch a 200-run partnership and take the initiative away.
Haddin, dropped on five by Carberry late on Thursday’s opening day, rode his luck to blast his way to 118 with five sixes before departing when he swiped at a Stuart Broad delivery to nick a catch to fellow wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Paceman Harris notched his half-century with a delightful square cut to the fence and finished unbeaten on 55 after caning the England attack with six fours and two sixes.
Number 11 batsman Nathan Lyon also helped himself to a six and finished unbeaten on 17 at the declaration.
Clarke earlier set the tone by attacking England’s bowlers from the first ball, but eventually fell to test debutant Ben Stokes when he spooned a miscued drive in close to be caught by a diving James Anderson.
The 32-year-old Clarke’s love affair with Adelaide Oval was consummated once more, his last nine tests at the ground yielding a peerless record of two double-centuries, four tons and three 50s, with a high score of 230 against South Africa a year ago.
Paceman Johnson was unable to repeat his heroics with the bat in Brisbane, where he scored 64 and an unbeaten 39, and gave up a catch off Swann to Stuart Broad at mid-on for five.
Having moved to 86, Haddin stood and delivered, roaring to his ton with four boundaries and embracing partner Peter Siddle after moving to 102 off 157 balls.
Earlier, Haddin could well have been run out for 18 after being called through for a cheeky single by Clarke but was let off by a poor throw back to the stumps by Carberry.
He was granted another life on 30 by Monty Panesar, who held up rather than attempt a dive to catch a miscued pull shot off seamer James Anderson just before the drinks break.
Ian Bell also put down a tough chance at short leg when Clarke, on 91, charged down the wicket in a bid to despatch spinner Swann but succeeded only to nick it behind.
The most glaring howler, though, was from debutant Stokes who had Haddin caught behind on 51 only to have his maiden test wicket in his debut match taken away on review when it was shown he had overstepped the mark.
Stokes later recovered to take Clarke’s wicket along with Siddle’s to finish with 2-70 from his 18 overs. Broad finished with 3-98 but recalled spinner Panesar was hammered for 1-157.
Both teams wore black armbands and the crowd stood for a minute’s silence before the start of play to honour South Africa’s anti-apartheid hero Nelson Mandela, who died on Thursday.