Friday 3 January 2014 

Australia's Unchangeables Fight Back

Brad Haddin, Steve Smith
Steve Smith (right) embraces Brad Haddin after reaching his century on day one in Sydney
© REUTERS / Action Images
 

Australia 326 (Smith 115, Stokes 6-99) v
England 8-1
Fifth Ashes Test, Sydney, day one
Scorecard

Australia named the same team for the fifth successive game and delivered a stirring fightback on the opening day of the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney after England reduced them to 97 for five.

Steve Smith (115) and Brad Haddin (75) played the key roles as the home side were bowled out for 326 and their day got even better when Michael Carberry departed late on as England closed on eight for one.

Ben Stokes returned figures of six for 99 as England, who handed debuts to batsman Gary Ballance, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and fast bowler Boyd Rankin dominated the early part of the day only for Australia to seize back the initiative.

For England, it was certainly a case of the more changes they made, the more things stayed the same. In each Test, they have bowled well enough to put Australia under pressure; each time Australia have fought back, with Smith and Haddin to the fore on more than one occasion.

As Australia named the same side for all five Ashes Tests for the first time in their history, consistency paid off but once again, their brittle top order was rescued by Smith and Haddin.

Rankin had a day to forget, managing just 8.2 overs before having to leave the field with a hamstring injury while Borthwick went at seven runs per over before taking the wicket of Johnson.

Rankin's departure left Cook short of options and after Stokes, Stuart Broad (2-65) and James Anderson (1-67) had Australia in trouble, Smith and Haddin were able to counter attack.

They did so superbly. Smith took a liking to Borthwick, reaching his century off a full toss and driving the ball powerfully down the ground.

The typically combative Haddin ensured that England were never able to settle and the pair added 128 together to change the complexion of the day.

Prior to that, England had had things their own way.

David Warner made a quickfire 16 before he was bowled by Broad before Chris Rogers (11) edged Stokes onto his stumps.

Stokes then had Clarke caught behind by Ian Bell for 10, the Australian captain offering a non-committal stroke outside off and Shane Watson (43) was then trapped in front by Anderson.

And when George Bailey hung his bat outside off stump to give Cook a catch off Broad for just one, England were in a strong position.

However, Smith and Haddin then turned things round, the former reaching his second century of the series and his third overall, facing 154 balls before lashing Stokes to substitute Joe Root at mid-on.

Haddin edged Stokes to Cook and the Durham man completed his five-for with the wickets of Ryan Harris (22) and Peter Siddle (0).

England then had a tricky mini-session to try to survive late in the day but they were unable to do so.

Carberry may have feathered an edge through to Haddin the ball before he did fall, clipping Johnson to Nathan Lyon at leg slip having failed to get off the mark.

Cook (7 not out) and nightwatchman James Anderson (0 not out) just about fended off a charged-up Johnson before stumps were called.

Australia lead the series 4-0 after wins in Brisbane, Adelaide, Perth and Melbourne and the players making way for England were Root, Monty Panesar and Tim Bresnan.

© Cricket World 2014

 
 
Fixtures & Results

21st-25th November: 1st Test, Gabba, Brisbane
AUS 295 & 401-7d. beat ENG 136 & 179 by 381 runs
5th-9th December: 2nd Test, Adelaide Oval, Adelaide
AUS 570-9d & 132-3d beat ENG 172 & 312 by 218 runs
13th-17th December: 3rd Test, WACA, Perth
AUS 385 & 369-8 d. beat ENG 251 & 353 by 150 runs
26th-30th December: 4th Test, MCG, Melbourne
AUS 204 & 231-2 beat ENG 255 & 179 by 8 wickets
3rd-7th January: 5th Test, SCG, Sydney
AUS 326 & 274 beat ENG 155 & 166 by 281 runs