Old Ashes foes unite as Bell, Johnson fire Scorchers past Strikers
Perth Scorchers had experienced stars Ian Bell and Mitchell Johnson to thank for making a winning start to their Big Bash League campaign on Friday, as Adelaide Strikers slumped to a second defeat from two matches.
Bell top scored with 61 on his BBL debut, while Johnson (3-33) claimed the key scalps of Brad Hodge (56) and Kieron Pollard (4), as well as Michael Neser (17), ably assisted by David Willey (2-15) in a 48-run victory.
Jake Weatherald, meanwhile, may not be able to look his Strikers team-mates in the eye this week after dropping Bell off the first ball the former England man faced.
Bell went on to anchor his team's innings with a classy half-century, finding the ropes six times and also supplying two maximums. He was eventually run out by Weatherald, but the damage was already done.
Mitchell Marsh (31) was gifted a six and survived what looked to be a likely dismissal when Pollard uncharacteristically put him down at long on and Ashton Turner (44 not out) also made a crucial contribution.
The Strikers endured a difficult start to their run chase, losing Ben Dunk to a third-ball duck when Willey's outswinger tempted him to try a drive that was snaffled by Michael Klinger at covers. Weatherald's night went from bad to worse when he was given out lbw for one to a Willey delivery that might have been missing down the leg side.
Hodge's half-century kept Adelaide's hopes alive before he fell to a full, straight Johnson off-cutter. Kane Richardson (45) then delayed the inevitable with some swashbuckling late resistance, eventually picking out Ashton Agar at long off in the final over, as the Scorchers won their opening match of a BBL season for the first time.
Veterans (accidentally) renew Ashes rivalry
Old habits do indeed die hard, as Johnson and Bell discovered. Perhaps too used to being on opposite sides, the Scorchers pair conspired to put down Hodge when the former Australia quick, coming across from fine leg, ran into the ex-England batsman, prompting Bell to spill what looked to be a routine take.
Turner signs off in style
Local boy Turner delighted the crowd at the 'Furnace' with a big last-ball six, the Perth-born 23-year-old's fourth maximum coming from just 19 deliveries faced as he finished unbeaten.