By Ed Osmond
Australia have hit back hard following their surprise defeat in the first Ashes Test in Cardiff, fast bowler Mitchell Johnson said after his team took complete control of the second match at Lord’s.
They piled up 566 for eight declared before reducing England to 85 for four on the second day and are in a commanding position to level the series at 1-1.
“We came here, won the toss and were able to put the runs on the board and put England under pressure straightaway,” Johnson, who claimed two wickets, told Sky Sports.
“We knew the wicket would have a bit more bounce than Cardiff. The boys have done well. They’ve started this Test match really well after Cardiff.”
The Australian pace attack quickly knocked over Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance, Ian Bell and Joe Root, who made a superb century in Cardiff to lay the foundation for England’s victory.
“The plan was to go pretty hard at Root – be more aggressive, don’t let him settle,” Johnson said.
“In English conditions, we talk about bowling fuller than we would back home. We know Ballance is deep in the crease but it’s nice when a plan comes off like that.”
England fast bowler Stuart Broad, who took four wickets, attempted to sound positive after a second successive chastening day for the hosts.
“We have to try our best to avoid the follow-on (target 367),” he said.
“We will hope for blue skies in the morning and then we have to apply ourselves. There are no demons in the pitch but we had a ropey 20 minutes earlier. We’ve still got a chance to bat big.
“We’ve got 16 wickets to play with in this Test. If people get in and play to their game plan, they’re going to be hard to get rid of.”
England collapsed to 30 for four, exactly as they did on the first morning of the opening Test against New Zealand at Lord’s in May, before recovering to 85 for four.
They fought back to beat the Kiwis in an enthralling Test match but, 481 runs behind the Australians, salvaging a draw appears to be England’s only realistic hope.