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Johnson-inspired Australia level series

Mitchell Johnson led the way with a high-quality spell of pace bowling as Australia beat England by 405 runs at Lord’s to level the Investec Ashes Series.

The hosts were required to bat five sessions to retain their 1-0 lead in the five-match rubber after Australia had set them a nominal 509 to win.

But England struggled to negotiate Johnson’s pace and bounce and were dismissed for 103 in 37 overs, the hostile left-armer returning figures of 3-27 including a double wicket-maiden in the over following tea.

Johnson also excelled in the field, firing in a direct-hit from mid-on to leave Ben Stokes, failing to slide his bat in, short of his ground during an afternoon session in which Australia turned the screw with five wickets for 57 runs.

That followed a dominant morning that saw them add 146 runs in 23 overs, courtesy of David Warner and Steven Smith, and declare on 254 for two 20 minutes before lunch. 

Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth survived a tricky three-over spell prior to the first interval, but the latter’s dismissal to Mitchell Starc, caught behind for the second time in the match, started the collapse.

Johnson replaced Starc, the start of several inspired bowling changes by skipper Michael Clarke, and struck with his fourth delivery, Cook dangling out his bat outside off stump and edging behind.

Mitchell Marsh entered the attack, to give Johnson a breather, and the medium-pacer also made a breakthrough in his first over as Gary Ballance, pushing forward outside the off stump, nicked to Peter Nevill.

Ian Bell, dropped on 10, then pushed forward at Nathan Lyon and provided substitute Shaun Marsh a simple take at short-leg.

But it was the dismissal of Stokes, for nought, on the stroke of tea that really rubbed salt into the wounds.

The Durham all-rounder was more concerned about Johnson’s powerful throw than running his bat in.

Johnson then struck twice in the space of five balls in the over after tea, Jos Buttler edging the first behind and Moeen Ali fending off a short delivery to Shaun Marsh.

Joe Root and Stuart Broad provided a little resistance in a stand of 37, the highest of the innings, with the latter taking England into three figures with a maximum off Lyon.

But the left-hander, whose 25 was the top score, clubbed Lyon straight to extra-cover before Josh Hazlewood bowled both Root, with a ball that kept low, and James Anderson.

Earlier, Warner and first-innings double-centurion Smith, sharing a 51-run alliance, weighed in with 83 and 58 after the day started in unusual fashion as Chris Rogers was forced to retire hurt on 49.

The 37-year-old, hit on the helmet with the first ball of Friday’s play, dropped to his knees to the right of the wicket today having suffered a dizzy spell.

That brought Smith to the crease and the Australia vice-captain, under no pressure, took the attack to England with several unconventional strokes.

After Warner continued where he left off last night before clubbing Moeen to short extra-cover, the unorthodox Smith targeted the leg side by shuffling across his stumps.

He brought up his half-century, off 43 balls, doing just that, squirting the ball down to fine-leg off Broad, a shot he repeated later.

Smith was bowled advancing to Moeen but Mitchell Marsh struck back-to-back sixes to prompt a declaration from Clarke, who was unbeaten on 32.