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Johnson overpowers Sri Lanka at MCG
By Greg Buckle
19:37 AEST Wed Dec 26 2012

Mitchell Johnson launched himself into the elite 200-club on Wednesday as Australia overpowered Sri Lanka on day one of the second Test.

Australia will resume on Thursday on 3-150 after Johnson claimed 4-63 to help skittle the tourists for 156 in front of 67,138 fans at the MCG.

In just his second Test appearance in 2012 after battling injury, Johnson became the 14th Australian to reach the 200-wicket milestone and achieved the feat in his 49th match.

"It's great having personal milestones. To be able to be in the 200 club, I'm very happy about that," the 31-year-old left-armer said.

Sri Lanka's sole shining light with the bat was veteran Kumar Sangakkara who made 58 and also notched a major milestone by becoming the 11th player in Test history to score 10,000 runs.

Sangakkara was eighth man out with the total on 147 after he top-edged a pull-shot and wicketkeeper Matthew Wade sprinted towards the boundary and dived to take what Johnson described as an unbelievable catch.

"It was a pretty special one for me as well being my 200th wicket so I thanked him for that," Johnson said.

Skipper Michael Clarke is unbeaten on 20 for Australia with Shane Watson on 13. Clarke looked in fine touch despite being in doubt for the match with a hamstring injury which he suffered in last week's win in the first Test in Hobart.

Australia's pace-bowling strategies have remained in the spotlight after the decision was made to rest in-form quick Mitchell Starc.

Debutant Jackson Bird (2-32) and Peter Siddle (2-30) provided tremendous back-up to the fiery Johnson who returned to the side after Ben Hilfenhaus was ruled out with a side strain.

"There's been talk with rotations systems and our policies," Johnson said.

"Jackson Bird, it's his first game and I've been in and out so it's good to be able to go out there and perform as a unit.

"It can be tough when you're chopping and changing. We're becoming a better side now.

"We've got those options there."

Sri Lankan coach Graham Ford admitted his side's shot selection could have been better, with Tillakaratne Dilshan losing his off stump for 11 to Johnson after aiming a big slog over mid-on.

Thilan Samaraweera (10) departed after top-edging a pull shot to Bird in the first over after lunch at 4-79, adding to Sri Lanka's woes.

"There might have been a few loose shots out there from the Sri Lankans but we've still got to put the ball in the right area," Johnson said.

Johnson said he expected the pitch which provided 13 wickets on day one to quicken up and provide value for shots on day two.

"We're definitely in a strong position," he said.

"We're three-down, we're 150 and we've got a great wicket out there."

Sri Lanka's woes include having wicketkeeper Prasanna Jayawardene on the sidelines nursing a fractured thumb courtesy of a lifting ball from Johnson.

Stand-in wicketkeeper Sangakkara fumbled a diving attempt to catch Watson for five off the bowling of Chanaka Welegedara.

Australia's Ed Cowan (36) and David Warner (62) shared a 95-run opening stand and Phil Hughes was run out for 10.

Ford was particularly disappointed with his side's missed opportunities in the field after Clarke and Watson were both dropped before they reached double figures.