SPORT

Two 35-Year-Old Sporting Legends Are Owning Tuesday Evening. Wow.

We're starting to think Roger Federer and Mitchell Johnson might be immortal.

24/01/2017 8:53 PM AEDT | Updated 24/01/2017 11:26 PM AEDT
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Mitchell Johnson. Roger Federer. Roger Federer, Mitchell Johnson. Federer, Johnson. Johnson, Federer. Federer, Johnson, Johnson, Federer, Johnson, Federer, Federer.

If your house is anything like this correspondent's, the above opening paragraph approximates the TV remote switches at around 8pm on Tuesday evening. Where to turn your televisual gaze? Which 35-year-old sporting legend to be transfixed by?

Here's what's happening. The cricket first because a record just got shattered in the Big Bash semi final between the Melbourne Stars and Perth Scorchers at the WACA. Mitch Johnson just took 3/3. Off four overs.

One more time so you can digest that. The 35-year-old former Test paceman, who really only participated in this tournament as a bit of a career afterthought, just conceded the lowest amount of runs ever in the six seasons of Big Bash cricket.

The old record was seven runs from four overs. But Johnson conceded just three. He took two wickets without conceding a run in his first over. His second over was also a maiden. So was his third, almost, until a single came off the very last ball.

But stats tell you nothing sometimes. What you really need to know is what it was like to watch Mitch Johnson in action, all revved up and lethal just like he used to be. Any bowler is supposed to be easy to score off in Twenty20 cricket, but Johnson was close to unplayable.

And talking of unplayable, then you'd change channels and watch one of those whippy little cross-court backhands from Federer and think 'geez, how does he get the power into that?'

Federer doesn't whack the ball. He just seems to stroke it. Yet rally after rally, he puts it where his opponent can't hit it. It's almost like watching an illusionist -- now you see it, now you don't.

Federer was playing Mischa Zverev in the Australian Open quarter finals. Zverev has done well at this tournament, knocking out Andy Murray amongst others. But Federer just ran him round the court like a cop directing traffic.

Watching him win that first set 6-1 was to travel back to a time when the Swiss was unbeatable. He's vulnerable these days, but everyone seems to be willing him on to one more major. The point, as anyone who saw that first set would agree, is that he would deserve it.

Federer had a tougher time of things in the second set, but just got betterer and betterer as the match wore on, beating Zverev 6-1, 7-5, 6-2 in straight sets. He plays compatriot Stan Wawrinka in the semi final.

Meanwhile the Scorchers restricted the Stars to 8/136 in their 20 overs. They gobbled up the required runs inside 17 overs, and are into yet another BBL final. Shaun Marsh top scored with 56 not out while Johnson was man of the match.

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