Updated: Saturday, 28 December 2013 13:07 | By Agence France-Presse

Johnson inspires Australian comeback in 4th Test

Australia surged back into contention in the fourth Ashes Test on a back of a sensational spell of cricket from Mitchell Johnson against England in Melbourne on Saturday.


Johnson inspires Australian comeback in 4th Test

Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson (L) celebrates after Joe Root (R) was given out caught behind, but was then given not out by the third umpire, on the third day of the fourth Ashes cricket Test against Australia in Melbourne on December 28, 2013

Johnson, the man of the series, played a role in three of four dismissals to have the tourists tumbling from 65 without loss to 87 for four in the middle session on day three.

England, holding an innings lead of 51 after dismissing the home side for 204, were travelling along comfortably until Johnson trapped skipper Alastair Cook leg before wicket for 51 in the 22nd over of the second innings.

Cook, who celebrated his 29th birthday on Christmas Day, had earlier became the youngest player to score 8,000 Test runs before he became Johnson's 29th wicket of the series.

Opening partner Michael Carberry went the same way to Peter Siddle for 12 off 81 balls before Joe Root was run out by an athletic piece of fielding from Johnson.

Root, who survived a review for caught behind off Johnson, on 15 scampered for a single only for Johnson to throw down his stumps at the bowler's end with the batsman well short of his ground.

Two balls later Ian Bell hit spinner Nathan Lyon straight to Johnson at mid-off for a first-ball duck and England were suddenly vulnerable with a lead of 138 runs with six wickets in hand.

At tea, England were 115 for four with Kevin Pietersen on 14 and Ben Stokes not out 13 to lead by 166 runs.

Pietersen was fortunate not to be run out on six when Siddle's throw just missed the stumps with the English batsman well short of making his ground.

Earlier, Brad Haddin hit his fifth half-century of the series before becoming the last Australian wicket to fall for 65 off 68 balls.

Haddin put on 40 useful runs for the 10th wicket with Nathan Lyon, who remained 18 not out off 34 balls.

Haddin, one of the heroes of Australia's Ashes-series victory, was finally out when he top-edged an attempted pull shot off Jimmy Anderson and was taken by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.

The number seven batsman has scored 390 runs and is averaging 65 and ranks second only to David Warner (466 at 77.66) as the leading scorer in the series.

Anderson finished the best of England's bowlers with four for 67 off 20.2 overs. Stuart Broad captured three for 45.

Australia already have clinched the Ashes with big wins in the opening three Tests in Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth, but England have had a much better Test match in Melbourne and for the first time have an innings lead to put pressure on the home side.

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