Salisbury JournalJohnson bowls Australia to easy win (From Salisbury Journal)

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Johnson bowls Australia to easy win

Salisbury Journal: Mitchell Johnson, centre, continued his fine form against South Africa (AP) Mitchell Johnson, centre, continued his fine form against South Africa (AP)

The venomous bowling of Mitchell Johnson helped Australia secure a comprehensive 281-run victory over South Africa with a day to spare in the first Test at SuperSport Park in Centurion.

Johnson, who took seven wickets in the first innings and five in the second for an impressive match haul of 12 for 127, was the clear man of the match against the world's number one Test team.

The Proteas had no real answer to the pace and bounce of Johnson, with only AB de Villiers managing to get among the runs for the home side. He scored 91 runs in the first innings and 48 in the second.

Michael Clarke was quick to make his declaration on day four, Shaun Marsh's dismissal prompting the Australia captain to put the Proteas in to chase a notional target of 482.

But Johnson removed openers Alviro Petersen and Graeme Smith inside the first four overs, with Peter Siddle accounting for Faf du Plessis before Ryan Harris made Hashim Amla his first victim of the match.

Johnson quickly disposed of JP Duminy and Ryan McLaren for his 10th and 11th wickets, De Villiers becoming his 12th when driving a cutter towards Steve Smith at short cover.

Siddle then had Robin Peterson fooled with a grubber and, after Harris removed Dale Steyn with a length ball, Morne Morkel was run out for a single to bring the match to a premature conclusion.

Australia's bowlers have earned the team an extra day's rest before the second Test in Port Elizabeth, and Johnson told espncricinfo: "We set the game up with our batters. We bowled really well as a team.

"We felt there was a little in the wicket, we saw Morne (Morkel) get some bounce.

"When plans come off it's really nice. I was very nervous and pumped up for this match, so to come out and do this is very good.

"I'm here to be the intimidator which is what I have done here. Now we have an extra day to get back up for it."

Steyn was the only other South African besides De Villiers to emerge from the match with much credit after his six wickets took his career total to 356.

His strike rate of 42 balls per wicket does, however, remain the lowest of those cricketers who have taken more than 300 Test wickets.

South Africa captain Smith said: "It's very disappointing. We've been outplayed from the word go.

"Probably one of the most disappointing four days as we've had as a team.

"We need to reflect, train hard and perform much better. It seemed to one of those games; bowlers picking up niggles, food poisoning.

"At 100 for four we were pretty happy. But credit to Mitchell Johnson.

"AB (de Villiers) showed tremendous skill on a difficult wicket, the rest of us have performed well for a period of time so need to look back to those moments.

"We allowed Australia to play front-runner cricket and that's unusual for us."

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