Aussies rattle England

Mitchell Johnson (AP)
Mitchell Johnson (AP)

Brisbane - Australia claimed six English wickets for nine runs in an astonishing comeback on the second day of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba on Friday.

Michael Clarke's team had the tourists reeling at 94 for eight at tea in reply to their first innings 295 after a spectacular collapse in the middle session.

England lost six wickets for 39 runs after going into lunch at 55 for two.

Left-armer Mitchell Johnson was the destroyer with his hostile pace snaring four for 46, while Ryan Harris and Nathan Lyon each grabbed two wickets.

At the interval, England trailed Australia by 201 runs with only two wickets left in a stunning reversal of fortunes after Australia had struggled on Thursday's opening day.

At tea, Stuart Broad was four not out with Chris Tremlett on one.

The wicket of Kevin Pietersen for 18 triggered the collapse for England who seemed unable to stem the tide against a fired-up home attack.

Pietersen, playing his 100th Test, was dropped on eight in a sharp caught and bowled chance by Peter Siddle in the 25th over.

England were pinned down for 13 dot balls before Pietersen lost concentration and flicked Harris off his pads to mid-wicket where debutant George Bailey accepted a fine catch.

Johnson struck again three overs later when he set up Michael Carberry with some short deliveries before getting him to edge to Shane Watson at second slip for 40 off 113 balls.

Then off-spinner Nathan Lyon struck, removing the dangerous Ian Bell (5) and Matt Prior (0) with consecutive deliveries.

Steve Smith took a bat-pad catch to dismiss Bell, the man of the last series in England, and took a magnificent sprawling catch again next ball to send Matt Prior on his way after a DRS review for a duck.

Umpire Aleem Dar did not give Prior out but skipper Michael Clarke sought a review and replays showed the ball coming off Prior's bat on to his thigh to give Smith the catch.

Ashes villain Broad came out to loud boos and did not need to offer a shot to Lyon's hat-trick ball to see off the threat. But Joe Root was the seventh wicket to fall in the next over.

Root played away from his body and nicked to third slip, where Smith took his third catch in two overs to leave England shellshocked at 89 for seven.

Graeme Swann was next to go, caught close in by Bailey off Johnson.

Before lunch Australia removed England skipper Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott cheaply.

Harris coaxed an edge off Cook to wicketkeeper Brad Haddin for 13 and Johnson followed up snaring the wicket of Trott, who tickled one down the leg-side to Haddin for 10.

The first innings by Australia, defending a 25-year unbeaten record at the famous Brisbane ground, ended on 295 when Haddin was run out chasing a century.

The veteran wicketkeeper, 78 not out overnight, attempted a risky second run on 94 but was beaten by Carberry's throw from deep point to Prior behind the stumps.

Broad, England's hero of the first day, walked off the Gabba holding the match ball aloft in tribute to his six for 81 off 24 overs.

Australia, who have not lost at the venue since falling to the West Indies in 1988, are bidding to avoid losing four Ashes series in a row for the first time in 123 years.

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