Australia dominated the opening day of the fifth and final Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground as they made 326 in tough conditions and reduced England to 8-1 in their reply.
|Australia 1st Innings: 326 all out (76 overs)|
|Clarke||c Bell||b Stokes||10||31||29|
|Smith||c Sub||b Stokes||115||247||154|
|Bailey||c Cook||b Broad||1||11||8|
|Haddin||c Cook||b Stokes||75||120||90|
|Johnson||c Sub||b Borthwick||12||54||32|
|Harris||c Anderson||b Stokes||22||35||27|
|Siddle||c Bairstow||b Stokes||0||1|
|Extras||6nb 2w 10b 2lb||20|
England captain Alastair Cook, having won the toss for the first time in the series, put the hosts in on a greenish looking pitch in overcast conditions and they reduced Australia to 97-5.
However, in a familiar tale in this series, Australia recovered with Steve Smith making his second century of the series and Brad Haddin continuing his incredible form with 75.
They put on 128 for the sixth wicket as the Baggy Greens scored in excess of four runs per over before Ben Stokes removed keeper Haddin and then took three wickets in an over to finish with a career-best 6-99.
Stuart Broad struck early as he bowled opener David Warner through the gate for 16 before Stokes removed Chris Rogers shortly after morning drinks, the left-hander dragging an attempted pull onto his stumps after making 11.
Stokes made a valuable second breakthrough when he had Australian captain Michael Clarke (10) caught at second slip by Ian Bell and the hosts went to lunch on 94-4 with Shane Watson, who passed a fitness test on a groin injury, trapped lbw by Jimmy Anderson for 43.
George Bailey was caught by Cook at slip off Broad soon after the adjournment and Australia were in trouble but home keeper Haddin regained the initiative with his sixth score over 50 in his record breaking series.
Haddin was eventually caught at slip by Cook off Stokes after blasting 13 boundaries in his 90-ball innings.
Cook's inexperienced attack featuring debutants Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin toiled in the afternoon and the tall Irish-born seamer was limited to just 8.2 overs due to a hamstring injury.
Durham leg-spinner Borthwick, who was playing grade cricket in the city just a month ago before being called up to the squad after Graeme Swann's retirement, did have Mitchell Johnson caught in the deep for 12 but his seven overs cost 49.
Smith, in particular, took a liking to his bowling and brought up the 300th century by an Australia batsman against England when he smashed a full toss through mid-wicket.
Stokes removed Ryan Harris (22) and Peter Siddle first ball before Smith was final man out, caught at mid-on in attempting to slog quick runs, after making 115 off 154 balls.
The tourists fielded a third debutant in Zimbabwe-born batsman Gary Ballance with Joe Root the man to make way, rather than Michael Carberry as had been widely expected.
However, Carberry was removed for a duck late in the day, caught at leg-slip by Nathan Lyon off Johnson.
An Australia victory would see them secure a 5-0 series whitewash for just the third time in the 137-year history of the Ashes.