By Glen Robertson
Mitchell Johnson basked in the glory of his triumphant return to Test cricket as his five-wicket haul helped Australia complete a 381-run victory over England at Brisbane.
The 32-year-old was making his first five-day appearance since March, when he failed to take a wicket and scored just three runs in two goes with the bat as Australia were comfortably beaten by India in Delhi.
But the Queensland paceman responded brilliantly at the Gabba, taking nine wickets and scoring 103 runs throughout the first rubber of the winter’s Ashes series.
He made the difference at key moments in the contest - putting on an important century partnership with Brad Haddin on day one, removing Michael Carberry, who had looked well set, in England’s first innings and taking the key wicket of Kevin Pietersen in the second.
And he finished off the game in style, removing Stuart Broad, Graeme Swann and, finally, James Anderson to complete victory and the eighth five-wicket haul of his Test career.
“To get a five-for in a Test match in an Ashes series is an unbelievable feeling,” he said in the post-match press conference. “All the boys racing in and getting in a huddle was just a great celebration for us.”
Johnson admitted that, while he was pleased with his performance with the bat, it was the showing with the ball that gave him the most satisfaction and remains the discipline he will be judged on.
He said: "It definitely gives me confidence (when I bat well) but I've got that confidence and belief in myself so if I do miss out with the bat it's not going to be a big deal.
"I know I've got to go out there and bowl well; that's my main job in this team to go and bowl well."
Michael Clarke singled out Johnson for special praise as he celebrated his first Test victory over England since replacing Ricky Ponting as Australia captain, but he remains aware of the threat the tourists will pose throughout the remainder of the series.
"(It's a) fantastic start, there were some fantastic individual performances, obviously no better than Mitchell Johnson both with bat and ball," he said.
"It's only one Test match; we know there is still a lot of work to do in regards to preparing for the second Test match and I'm sure England will come back bigger and stronger.
"England are a very good team and they've shown that over a long period of time."
Man-of-the-match Johnson is determined to make the most of the celebrations that follow the first Test, before thoughts turn to Adelaide for the second instalment on December 5.
"It's a very nice start and that's all it is at the moment but we've got to enjoy this moment. We haven't won for a while,” Johnson said.
"We've got to keep going, it's only the start of the series, it's not the end. It's nice to be 1-0 up but there's a long way to go in this series and we know England are going to come back hard."