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Australia skittle England for 155 in fifth Test

Saturday, 4 January 2014 - 10:09am IST | Agency: Reuters

Australia skittled England for 155 to bring up tea on the second day of the fifth and Ashes test on Saturday, leaving the hapless tourists with a 171-run first innings deficit as they fight to avoid a 5-0 series sweep.

While a dispirited England again contributed to their own downfall, Mitchell Johnson (3-33), Ryan Harris (3-36) and Peter Siddle (3-23) played more than an incidental part in proceedings with another display of top quality pace bowling. They ripped through England's top order in the first hour's play at the Sydney Cricket Ground to remove captain Alastair Cook (7), nightwatchman James Anderson (7), Kevin Pietersen (3) and Ian Bell (2).

Debutant Gary Ballance departed caught behind for 18 just after lunch and wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who also scored 18, followed after offering some resistance in a partnership of 49 for the seventh wicket with Ben Stokes. When all-rounder Stokes was bowled by Siddle for 47 with the final ball of the same over, England's hopes of any kind of respectable score went with him. Debutant leg spinner Scott Borthwick made one run before getting a thick edge on a Harris delivery which Steve Smith took well at third slip.

England looked like they might just scramble to tea but Johnson returned to the fray and bowled Boyd Rankin, the third of the England new caps, for 13 to end the innings. Stuart Broad, welcomed to the crease by a chorus of boos, scored 30 not out in a late flourish but England will now need him to shine with the ball if they have any hope of saving the test.

The hosts had made 326 in their first innings before reducing England to eight for one overnight and looked well on course for a fifth dominant victory after the first hour of the day. It was Harris who started the carnage with the second ball of the day when Cook inexplicably padded up to an inswinger and was trapped leg before. Harris could have had a second wicket with his next delivery when Bell edged the ball behind only for Shane Watson to fluff a reasonably easy catch in the slips.

England's nemesis Johnson then opened up from the other end and gave Anderson a torrid time, striking his fellow paceman on the hand. Anderson braved another couple of overs of short bowling before departing after finding the edge with a stab at a fuller length Johnson delivery, which Australia captain Michael Clarke leapt to claim in the cordon. Pietersen lasted just nine balls and 12 minutes before departing courtesy of another edge to the slips from a Harris delivery, which Watson took this time after a juggle.

With England now 4-17 after just 32 minutes of play, Bell did his best to dig in. He took 42 minutes to get off the mark but had just two runs on the board 14 minutes later when a superb delivery from Siddle had him caught behind by Brad Haddin and England were 23-5.

Harris and Johnson were now out of the attack but Australia's support bowlers kept up the pressure and Ballance and Stokes were only able to contemplate survival initially. Ballance needed a replacement face grill after a venomous Johnson bouncer clattered into his helmet some 10 minutes before lunch and he survived only five minutes afterwards before becoming off-spinner Nathan Lyon's only victim.


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