Johnson, Stokes cleared by ICC, as Australia take charge

Australian paceman Mitchell Johnson and England allrounder Ben Stokes have been cleared of breaching cricket’s code of conduct.

The duo were charged by umpires for their physical clash during Sunday’s play in the second Test at Adelaide Oval.It is understood match referee Jeff Crowe dismissed the charges, with the ICC to soon release official confirmation of his ruling.

Johnson and Stokes appeared in a hearing before Crowe and both pleaded not guilty.

Stokes and Johnson made contact with each other while the Englishman was batting on Sunday.

The pair collided during a Johnson over and were charged under a rule which prohibits any inappropriate physical conduct.

The Aussies needed only 11.4 overs on the final day of the second Test to take England’s remaining four wickets and claim a two-nil lead in the Ashes series.

Resuming on 6-247 chasing 531 to win, England were bowled out for 312 under overcast skies at Adelaide Oval.

Paceman Peter Siddle led Australia’s second innings attack with 4-57 and Ryan Harris took 3-54.

England must now lick their wounds ahead of a quick turnaround for the third Test on a bouncy WACA pitch in Perth starting on Friday.

In a promising sign for England, wicketkeeper/batsman Matt Prior recovered from his double failure in the first Test, completing a fine knock of 69 on Monday, including 12 fours off 102 balls.

Play started 10 minutes late because of morning showers as England looked to the heavens in the hope of a rain-affected draw.

Stuart Broad (29) played with gay abandon despite England’s talk of showing fight to try to draw the match.

The talkative tailender pulled a six from the fourth ball of the day and top-edged a bouncer to deep backward square to lose his wicket on the following delivery from Siddle at 7-255.

BBC commentator Geoff Boycott said Broad’s dismissal was stupid.

England’s Barmy Army fans fans began the day singing ‘‘Who do you think you are kidding Mitchell Johnson’’, although they soon switched to Bon Jovi’s ‘‘Living on a prayer’’.

Harris removed Graeme Swann (six) caught at second slip.

Prior helped England reach 300 for the first time in the series before hooking to deep fine leg and departing caught as Siddle made his fourth key breakthrough of the innings.

Australia’s quicks peppered England’s tail with short balls and Monty Panesar fell to Harris for a duck, ending the match with Jimmy Anderson 13 not out.

England’s second innings has featured a series of verbal clashes and a physical shoulder-bumping incident between Aussie pace bowler Mitchell Johnson and England batsman Ben Stokes.

Australia captain Michael Clarke exchanged words with Prior late on day four and Broad argued with Johnson as the players walked off the field on Sunday.Johnson’s terrifying pace in England’s first innings, in which he claimed 7-40, is expected to Australia’s trump card in Perth this weekend.

‘‘They’re a good side England. They’re going to bounce back,’’ Harris told ABC Radio.

Australia have placed pace bowlers Doug Bollinger and the uncapped Nathan Coulter-Nile on standby for Perth and Harris admits it’s a tough gig to back-up for Friday’s game.

‘‘I was a little bit stiff and sore when I woke up this morning,’’ the 34-year-old Harris said.

‘‘(But) we have an extra half-day off now.’’

England have won three of the past four Ashes series and have held the urn since 2009 but Australia are now surging towards possibly regaining the prized trophy even before the Melbourne-Sydney Tests.

Johnson was named player of the match for the second Test in a row.

‘‘It’s a great victory. We’ll enjoy it,’’ said Johnson, who has claimed 17 wickets at 12.70 in two Tests.

England captain Alastair Cook admitted the batsmen were letting his side down, although half-centuries to Joe Root and Matt Prior in the second dig were promising signs.

‘‘We need to dust ourselves down,’’ Cook said.

‘‘There’s no point moping about it and saying it’s all over. If we believe that, it is all over.’’

Former England captain Michael Vaughan is fearing a sweep following Monday’s 218-run defeat.

‘‘Seriously this will be 5-0 unless something drastic changes in the England dressing room very soon,’’ Vaughan tweeted.

But Clarke isn’t getting carried away.

‘‘There’s a lot of work for us to do yet,’’ he said. AAP

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