When Mitchell Johnson is not good, he's horrid: Matthew Wade

Mitchell JohnsonAustralia's Mitchell Johnson celebrates after the dismissal of England's Jonathan Trott during the second one-day international against England at Old Trafford cricket ground in Manchester September 8, 2013. (REUTERS)

England may have batted for barely 15 overs at Edgbaston before the third one-day international was washed out on Wednesday, but that was time enough for Australia fast bowler Mitchell Johnson to remind them of his ability.

The abandonment left Australia 1-0 up with two to play in the five-match series ahead of Saturday's clash in Cardiff, with their 88-run win in Manchester falling between two rain-ruined no results in Leeds and now Birmingham.

However, of arguably greater significance than Wednesday's raw result was left-arm paceman Johnson's return of one wicket for 20 runs in five overs which came as England slumped to 59 for three before rain stopped play.

Kevin Pietersen was Johnson's prize scalp, the star batsman unable to get over the top of a short ball and lobbing a gentle catch to square leg.

Johnson was also unlucky not to dismiss Jonathan Trott as a couple of close lbw decisions went against him after he'd previously dismissed the top-order batsman for a duck in Manchester.

Rather like the child in the nursery rhyme, when Johnson is good "he's very, very good and when he's bad he's horrid," with unplayable deliveries often mixed in with extravagant wides.

Australia wicketkeeper Matthew Wade is arguably better-placed than anyone else right now to assess Johnson's bowling and the Victoria gloveman said after stumps: "It's quick -- it's one of the quickest I've probably kept to for a little while now.

"His rhythm is amazing, but more importantly his accuracy is second to none at the moment. He's swinging the ball nicely, and hitting the stumps enough. He was probably unlucky not to get Trott here. He bowled really nicely to him ... one of our big things is to take early wickets, and Mitch is getting that done for us at the moment."

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