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Young guns Ben Stokes and Steve Smith lead the way for England and Australia at SCG

Friday, 3 January 2014 - 2:43pm IST | Agency: dna webdesk

The first day of the fifth Ashes Test saw the older players left in the shadows as the two men in their 20s performed heroics for their teams with bat and ball respectively.
  • Reuters

With Australia seeking a white wash at the final Ashes Test at the SCG the team was dressed in pink as the match was dedicated to breast cancer and the Jane McGrath foundation.

Alastair Cook won the toss for the first time in the series and chose to bowl hoping his win in the toss would reflect also in a change in the match result.

Australia stepped in to bat and pile the runs but found themselves in deep trouble at 97 for five after England struck twice in the 15 minutes before lunch.

Steve Smith and Brad Haddin played out of their skins and took the attack to the English bowlers as they bailed Australia out of a tight spot with a 128 run partnership for the sixth wicket.

Haddin has been on song in this tournament as he has scored plenty of runs managing to save his team the blushes on many occasions. This time Smith who scored a century earlier in the tournament showed great maturity as he battled and batted with the bowlers to help Australia to 326 all out.

Steve Smith talks about his ton:

The 24-year-old playing at his home ground hit a six to reach 99 and a four to cross 100. Smith slammed 17 fours and one six in his 154-ball innings.

For England it was red-head Ben Stokes who also scored the first century for the visitors on this tour who had a field day with the ball this time. The 22-year-old took 6 wickets giving away 99 runs as he confirmed his arrival as an all-rounder.

Watch Ben Stokes talk about his six wicket feat:

The 5-wicket haul and century in this return Ashes is perhaps the best performance by an English player overall in this series.

England chose to drop Joe Root, Monty Panesar and Tim Bresnan choosing to give first caps to Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin while Australia were unchanged.

Alastair Cook talks about dropping players:

As the Ashes heroes and zeroes come closer to be named one thing is for sure that Stokes and Smith, the young men in their English and Australian team have put their hand up and performed casting the shadow of under performance on their much older and experienced teammates.

Interestingly Steve Smith has an English mother and Ben Stokes was born in New Zealand, but nonetheless they have performed with great grit for their respective teams in this series.

The first day of the final Ashes Test in Australia has shown that the legacy of cricket's oldest rivalry is still safe thanks to the performance of youngsters like Ben Stokes and Steve Smith.

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