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Saturday, January 04, 2014

SYDNEY - Steve Smith and Brad Haddin kept Australia on target for a 5-0 Ashes whitewash, after coming to the rescue on day one of the fifth Test in Sydney.

Bowled out for 326, electric man-of-the-series Mitchell Johnson ensured Australia went to stumps on a high when he removed Michael Carberry in a thrilling climax to leave England 1-8 in reply.

After England won their first toss of the series, Australia were sent into bat and were in trouble when Smith and Haddin came to the crease with the home side reeling at 5-97.

But the pair put on a crucial 128-run sixth wicket stand which instigated a stunning turnaround, despite England allrounder Ben Stokes claiming career-best figures of 6-99.

It gave England a nerve-racking six overs to face before close and once again Johnson (1-3) delivered, with Nathan Lyon taking a superb diving catch at leg slip.

The day's play followed an all-too-familiar theme for the series, with England letting Australia off the hook and Johnson making them pay.

Earlier, Smith's 115 was his second century of the summer, and Haddin's 75 made him the first batsman in over 40 years to score a half century in every match of an Ashes series.

The pressure is firmly on England given their struggling batting order has managed just two totals greater than 300 this series.

Smith was the final wicket to fall, bringing an end to a fighting innings where he smashed 17 fours and a six.

Haddin was just as brutal, belting 13 boundaries in his knock of 75.





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