By David Gray
THE second Test between Australia and New Zealand fizzled out in a draw on Tuesday but not before Mitchell Johnson gave one last reminder of his bowling prowess on the day he announced his retirement from international cricket.
New Zealand’s pursuit of 321 runs for victory in 48 overs already looked unlikely to succeed but after rain cut 90 minutes out of the fifth and final day at the WACA, the spoils looked destined to be shared.
The tourists had made 104 for two when bad light brought an end to the game, leaving Australia 1-0 up in the series going into the third Test in Adelaide courtesy of their 208-run win in Brisbane last week.
Johnson, who made his announcement before the start of play, summoned up one last spell of raw pace to dismiss both New Zealand openers and was chaired off the pitch by his team-mates.
“They were the sort of wickets I’ve been getting for the last couple of years, I really wanted to rip a couple in and the body let me do it,” said Johnson, who finished with figures of 2-20.
“There is a fair bit of emotion when the boys picked me up. It has been great. I have really enjoyed myself. I can walk off and be proud of my career.”
Australia skipper Steve Smith had declared for the fourth time in four innings in the series an hour before tea after the hosts had made 385 for seven.
An uncharacteristically docile WACA pitch had allowed batsmen from both sides to showcase their skills in a run-fest of a match over the first four days.
A double century from David Warner spurred Australia to 559-9 in their first innings and 290 from Ross Taylor helped New Zealand to 624 in reply, a lead of 65 runs.
Centuries from Smith and Adam Voges in the last two sessions on Monday put Australia back in front but the runs finally stopped flowing so freely yesterday morning.
Smith (138), Mitchell Marsh (1) and Adam Voges (119) all departed in an opening session in which Australia were only able to add 73 runs to their overnight tally of 258 for two.
Johnson was welcomed by a guard of honour of applauding New Zealanders when he came out to the crease and illustrated his batting skills with a bright 29 from 45 balls. The 34-year-old was the first of the two batsmen to depart caught behind off Tim Southee (4-97) after lunch with Peter Nevill (35) following him back to the dressing room.
It was not too long before Smith’s loud whistle called Mitchell Starc (28 not out) and Josh Hazlewood (2 not out) in to get ready to take the new ball. Johnson led the Australians back onto the pitch on his 73rd and final Test and had bowled eight deliveries without conceding a run before the rain forced an early tea.
He resumed after the delay and soon sent Tom Latham (15) back to the dressing room after an attempted hook ended up in the hands of Josh Hazlewood at long leg. Martin Guptill (17) was Johnson’s 313th and final Test victim when a fast rising delivery saw him spoon the ball to Joe Burns at short leg.