At one stage South Africa were 6-3, effectively 6-4, as Graeme Smith had been hospitalised. The man who did this was Mitchell Johnson and he forced Jacques Kallis to retire hurt shortly afterwards.
Johnson provided bounce, swing and crucially, pace. Mitchell Johnson is a fast bowler. We’d say a ‘genuine’ fast bowler, but in our eyes, you either are or you aren’t.
A month ago, England could at least comfort themselves that Australia were matching them shambles for shambles. Now the Aussies have Phil Hughes set for 15 years of Test destruction and they’ve got Mitchell Johnson scaring the hell out of a top drawer South African batting line-up.
Meanwhile, England have a glut of fast-medium bowlers waiting for the ball to swing and the team changes after every Test. We seem to be returning to the Nineties at a rate of knots.
Younger readers might not fully appreciate the concept of the Nineties. They might think it’s just another decade. In English cricket terms, it’s actually a form of purgatory.
The Ashes was rather like India against Zimbabwe, only there was no chance that the ICC would take pity on England and ban them from Test cricket. They couldn’t even get away with two or three match series. Because it was the Ashes, they had to play five or even six Tests.
It might be time to officially start hating Mitchell Johnson. Shall we put it to the vote?