Mitchell Johnson Australia
Mitchell Johnson showed he packs a punch with the bat as well on day three of the second Test against IndiaReuters

Mitchell Johnson has not looked like himself with the ball, finding it difficult perhaps to show that aggression which turned him into a monster of a fast bowler in the Ashes last year, following the death of his good mate Phil Hughes. You could see it clear as day when a bouncer struck Virat Kohli on the helmet in the first Test, leaving Johnson distraught and almost in tears.

However, Johnson has this habit of always making an impact doesn't he? What he could not do, or has not been able to do, with the ball, he decided to do wielding the willow, with the marauder carting the India bowlers around with absolute ruthlessness to take a couple of sessions away from the visitors on day 3 of the second Test.

Johnson's (88, 93b, 13x4, 1x6) massive assault and Steven Smith's (133, 191b, 13x4, 2x6) cool class, with Mitchell Starc (52) joining in the fun as well, took Australia to a strong 505 all out in 109.4 for a first innings lead of 97 runs.

Staring at a deficit that should never have been, India's second innings began reasonably well, with Shikhar Dhawan (26 n.o., 65b, 2x4) and Cheteshwar Pujara (15 n.o., 35b, 2x4) taking their team to 71/1 in 23 overs at stumps on day three to cut Australia's lead to 26 runs. The only man to go was first innings centurion Murali Vijay (27, 39b, 4x4), who, after a bright start, was castled by a fired up Starc, when the right-hander played-on to a delivery which he tried to leave alone too late.

It all began wonderfull for India, with Plan A working brilliantly and even getting them an impressive wicket in the morning; but then they went into Plan B, got a wicket quickly, and did what they should never have done – get carried away.

The bowlers were in their elements on day 3 morning, bowling on that channel just outside off stump and drying up the runs considerably, while also picking up Mitchell Marsh's wicket, when Ishant Sharma saw his ball tail in off the pitch and clip off stump after Marsh (11, 34b, 1x4) shouldered arms.

That wonderful early morning feeling for India only got better when Brad Haddin, lucky to survive a couple of close lbw appeals, was sent packing by a snorter from Varun Aaron, with a wicked short delivery fended off by the Aussie wicketkeeper to Cheteshwar Pujara at forward short leg.

Ironically it was Haddin's wicket that just opened up the door for Australia as India lost their bearings, got a little too carried away, went off the path of the channel outside off, bowling one too many short deliveries.

While the Gabba has pace and bounce it is also a great wicket to play balls that are pitched short if you get into position early enough, and with Johnson expecting the ball to be pitched halfway down the wicket time and again he just teed off with consummate ease to thump the bowlers into submission.

Johnson, who quite likes batting at the Gabba, came in and changed the entire momentum of the innings for Australia. India continued with the short stuff after their success with Haddin, and Johnson accepted the gifts with glee pulling and cutting with gay abandon to start the run glut which went all the way until Lunch.

Smith and Johnson put on 148 runs together for the seventh wicket in a mere 26 overs, and the latter, not surprisingly, was the aggressor, scoring the majority of those runs as India rather lost the plot after such a bright start.

The Australia skipper might have been a spectator during the Johnson assault, but Smith did find enough time to complete his second hundred of the series and sixth overall, as the batsman continued to look near undismissable.

The partnership was finally broken by Ishant Sharma well into the second session, with Johnson feathering one to MS Dhoni, but the damage had well and truly been done by then, with Australia only 13 runs behind at that point.

Smith also fell soon after, also to Ishant, after playing on, but India's torture would not end there as Mitchell Starc (52, 59b, 6x4) and Nathan Lyon (23, 23b, 3x4), taking the lead from Johnson and Smith, continued the assault with an enterprising 56-run partnership in just 8.2 overs.

That alliance obviously pushed Australia into the lead, with No. 11 Josh Hazlewood (32 n.o., 50b, 7x4) also hanging around for a while to prolong India's agony further.

India's reply in the second innings will be key. If they can get to another big score, it will put the pressure right back onto Australia, with anything possible on day five as India themselves found out so harshly in Adelaide.

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