It took Australia only 50 minutes on the fourth day of the Perth test at WACA, the third of the series, to take the remaining five wickets and land a 267-run win against England.
Ryan Harris ended with a career-best 6-47, which helped restrict England to 123. England resumed the tie on day four at 81-5, requiring an unlikely 391 to win the test.
However, they barely posed a threat as Harris took four of the five remaining wickets to end the game early. James Anderson (3), Ian Bell (16), Matt Prior (10) and Steven Finn (2) were the four who fell to the right-arm fast bowler while Johnson dismissed Graeme Swann (9) to help Australia level the 5 match series 1-1.
For Australian skipper Ricky Ponting, it turned out to be the perfect 36th birthday present. He was elated after a win which will ease the pressure on him. He said, There's no better birthday present than that, to bounce back like this. To get 270 on the board on that first day was probably the difference in the end, and then Johnson's spell on day two was probably one of the all-time greatest spells in Ashes history.
I'm a bit sore today, I wanted more than anything to be able to go out there and field, but I had to err on the side of caution. Another knock on the finger could have been disastrous. I think I'm a really good chance of playing the Boxing Day Test.
England skipper Andrew Strauss put the loss down to the last session of day three, in which England lost quick and crucial wickets. We were in quite a good position but a very good spell of bowling by Mitchell Johnson brought Australia back into the game. He said. You've got to give them credit. We've also got to retain a sense of perspective. We've played a lot of good cricket in this series. We thought we could get 391, but that session last night killed us.
He paid tribute to Mitchell Johnson, who produced a master-class performance in the first innings after being dropped for the second test at Adelaide.
In some ways you have to give Australia credit. That spell from Mitchell Johnson on the second morning ripped apart our top order. We were always behind in the game after that and credit to them for not letting us back in. The batting we have to say was not good enough. We have to learn from that and try and relate back to what we did well in Brisbane and Adelaide.
If we can keep playing that same brand of cricket we have played in the majority of the series, then we have a great chance of retaining the Ashes.
He didn't rule out making changes to his squad and said, I won't rule it out, we have to look on what we can do better. But ultimately this is not a time for panic; we have to keep a cool head.
The fourth and crucial test of the series is on Boxing Day at Melbourne's MCG stadium.