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Stokes fires on compelling day

By Rob Barnett

Ben Stokes’ six stunning wickets completed England’s mission of dismissing Australia after putting them in, although it came at a greater cost than had looked likely.

The all-rounder struck twice to leave the hosts 97 for five shortly after lunch, but Steven Smith and Brad Haddin responded with a 128-run stand as the bowlers lost their discipline.

Although Stokes, playing in his fourth Test, returned to oust Haddin for 75, Smith went on to his second hundred of the series. He was the last wicket to fall, for 115, when Stokes got three in an over for figures of 6-99, his first format five-for.

Ben Stokes gets a six-wicket haul that limited Australia to 326, although it could have been less after they were 97 for five

Australia’s 326 all out left the tourists with six overs to bat, in which they lost Michael Carberry to Mitchell Johnson before closing on eight for one.

Alastair Cook this morning won his first toss of the series and opted to bowl first in initially overcast conditions on a green-tinged SCG pitch. Cook announced Test debuts for Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin, who replaced Joe Root, Monty Panesar and Tim Bresnan. Australia kept the same team throughout the series, the first time that has happened in a five-game rubber.

England started strongly as Stuart Broad bowled David Warner before Chris Rogers played on to Stokes, who then had Michael Clarke held at second slip. On the stroke of lunch James Anderson trapped Shane Watson plumb lbw for 43.

Shortly after the interval George Bailey edged Broad to the cordon, but Haddin counter-attacked to good effect until being caught at first slip after tea. Borthwick took his first Test wicket when Johnson holed out to long-on before Smith reached three figures.

Stokes quickly wrapped up the innings, having Ryan Harris, Peter Siddle and Smith caught. However, Johnson had the last word when Carberry was held at leg-slip.

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Evening Session

Watch highlights of the evening session from the SCG

England 1st Innings

7.03am - STUMPS! England 8/1; Cook 7, Anderson 1 - Cook and Anderson see off Johnson to end a compelling day with England 318 behind. Join me tomorrow for the next instalment.

6.59am - Nightwatchman James Anderson, who takes his time between balls, plays out a Harris maiden. There will be one more over.

6.50am - WICKET! Carberry c Lyon b Johnson 0; Eng 6/1 - The ball after Australia fail to spot a faint outside edge behind, Carberry inside edges to leg-slip where Nathan Lyon holds a low chance.

6.41am - Mitchell Johnson has a strong caught-behind shout first ball against Michael Carberry. Marais Erasmus gives it not-out and Australia opt not to review, replays showing the ball only flicked Carberry’s trouser. Johnson completes a testing over.

6.37am - With cloud cover having returned Ryan Harris opens the bowling to Alastair Cook, who punches a wide full-toss through the covers for four.

Australia 1st Innings

6.26am - WICKET! Smith c Root b Stokes 115; Australia 326 all out - Smith picks out substitute Root at mid-on as Stokes gets his third wicket of the over and figures of 6-99. England will have a tricky period to bat this evening.

6.24am - CHANCE! - Lyon edges Stokes low to Anderson, who dives to his left from fourth slip but can’t hold a hard opportunity.

6.22am - WICKET! Siddle c Bairstow b Stokes 0; Aus 325/9 - The all-rounder produces a beauty first up to Peter Siddle, who can only edge behind. Stokes has his first Test five-for and is on a hat-trick, which Nathan Lyon denies with solid defence.

6.19am - WICKET! Harris c Anderson b Stokes 22; Aus 325/8 - Harris’ fun ends as he powerfully hits Stokes on the up to short cover, where Anderson holds a sharp chance.

6.16am - Harris keeps the boundaries coming, pulling Anderson over midwicket and into a delighted crowd.

6.04am - Smith sends another Borthwick full-toss to the boundary as the hosts move beyond 300. Ryan Harris then top-edges and cover-drives Anderson for two more fours.

5.53am - HUNDRED! Smith (142b 15x4 2x6) - Smith lifts Borthwick over mid-on for today’s first six to go to 99 and, two balls later, deposits a full-toss to the midwicket rope to herald three figures. The SCG rises to acclaim his second ton of the series.

5.41am - WICKET! Johnson c Root b Borthwick 12; Aus 269/7 - Borthwick has a first Test scalp when Johnson holes out to long-on, where substitute Joe Root steadies himself to hold a commendable catch. Well done Scott!

5.34am - Scott Borthwick is back into the attack with a tidy over that will boost his confidence. While Smith is into the 80s, Mitchell Johnson has quietly reached double figures.

5.24am - Smith breaks a quiet period of play by smashing Stokes for a straight and aerial four that moves Australia past 250. Anderson immediately gets similar treatment.

5.12am - After Stokes and Anderson send down a tight over each, Rankin is back into the attack in place of the former. But one ball later the debutant pulls up again and, like in the afternoon session, leaves the field. Stokes completes the over.

5.01am - Smith, who opened the face to cut Stokes for four in the previous over, sweetly cover-drives James Anderson to the rope.

4.46am - WICKET! Haddin c Cook b Stokes 75; Aus 225/6 - A huge wicket for England as the right-hander nicks a full delivery through to Alastair Cook, who holds a regulation low chance at first slip. It ends a stand of 128.

4.38am - Brad Haddin smites Ben Stokes for two aerial off-side fours, the first over extra-cover and then over mid-off. Haddin then pulls Broad for four more over mid-on to reach 75.

4.33am - FIFTY! Smith (87b 10x4 0x6) - Steven Smith drives Stuart Broad to the square off-side boundary to bring up a solid half-century in the first over after tea. Boyd Rankin is back on the field but he isn’t allowed to bowl for a while.

Afternoon Session

Watch highlights of the afternoon session from the SCG

4.10am - TEA! Australia 201/5; Smith 48, Haddin 59 -  Yet again, Haddin is causing England a headache. Smith is supporting him well.

4.08am - HUNDRED PARTNERSHIP! - Haddin pulls Anderson for four to reach a landmark in his alliance with Smith and to move Australia to 200. It’s been quite a turnaround since Bailey fell.

4.03am - Haddin greets the returning Anderson by leaning back and whacking a one-bounce four over midwicket before Smith cover-drives Stokes to the rope.

3.55am - FIFTY! Haddin (70b 8x4 0x6) - Haddin blocks Stokes, who has replaced Borthwick, for a single to mid-on, completing his fifth half-century of the series in addition to a century at Adelaide.

3.49am - Following a menacing Broad maiden to Haddin, Borthwick concedes fours at the start and end of his second over as Australia go after him.

3.41am - Haddin, having opened the face for three runs, advances to Borthwick and smacks him powerfully back past the bowler for four. The young leg-spinner responds well in the rest of the over.

3.35am - Bad news for England: Rankin needs treatment after the first ball of his ninth over and leaves the field, feeling his left hamstring on his way off. Broad continues the over.

3.28am - After Smith slashes Stokes for four through backward point without foot movement, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick has his first bowl in Tests. Smith clips a full-toss between midwicket and mid-on for four.

3.21am - Haddin flat-bats Rankin over mid-on for four to raise a fifty partnership with Smith that the wicketkeeper-batsman has made 38 of.

3.18am - Haddin strikes Stokes for three fours in an over with a cover-drive, a flick to fine-leg and an aerial pull. Haddin, Australia’s batsman of the series, is threatening again.

3.05am - Haddin cuts a short-and-wide Rankin ball for four and pulls Stokes to the rope. Broad returns to the field after a period off it and Smith streakily edges Rankin high over third slip for four.

2.56am - Boyd Rankin replaces Broad and starts with a tight over that Anderson emulates.

2.46am - REVIEW! - Haddin plays back to Anderson, who appeals for caught behind via pad. There were two noises so England review but there is no indication of an inside edge, meaning Haddin survives on nine. Later in the over Smith takes a painful blow to the glove from a length ball that reared at him.

2.38am - Smith and Haddin shoulder arms to Anderson and are each struck on the pad, but England review on neither occasion with both balls too high to hit the stumps.

2.30am - Following Anderson’s runless over to Steven Smith, in-form Brad Haddin gets going by driving Broad for four through mid-off to herald Australia’s hundred. Later in the over Haddin narrowly evades a fierce Broad bouncer.

2.20am - WICKET! Bailey c Cook b Broad 1; Aus 97/5 - Bailey edges to first slip where Alastair Cook spills the ball but clasps it to his left hand just above the turf. England are right on top here. Broad completes a wicket-maiden.

2.15am - Stuart Broad delivers a threatening maiden to Bailey with bright sun having replaced the morning’s cloud cover.

2.11am - James Anderson bowls the last two balls of the over he started before lunch, George Bailey getting off the mark with a single to leg from the first delivery. 

Morning Session

Watch highlights of the morning session from the SCG

1.31am - WICKET & LUNCH! - Watson lbw Anderson 43; Aus 94/4 - Smith drives Stokes through point for four before Anderson has a close lbw shout against Watson, who was padding up, although England rightly opt not to review. But next ball Watson is plumb lbw, England's first of the series, and does not contest the verdict. That heralds the interval and makes it the tourists' morning.

1.23am - Watson edges Anderson through a vacant third slip and immediately just over gully, picking up fours with both shots. The first would have been a regulation chance and the second was just out of the fielder’s reach.

1.16am - Clarke c Bell b Stokes 10; Aus 78/3 - Stokes, who has twice been no-balled for breaking the non-striker’s stumps, finds an ideal length that forces Clarke to edge to Ian Bell at second slip. That’s a key scalp with lunch approaching. Steven Smith opens his account by driving Stokes to the extra-cover rope.

1.04am - Clarke stays in control of a hook against Broad to get his first four. Watson scores his fifth by driving Stokes, who has taken over from Rankin, down the ground.

12.54am - CHANCE! - Clarke, on two, takes a single off Broad, who has replaced Stokes. Carberry picks up right-handed at point and would have ousted the Australia captain with a direct hit. Watson then clips Rankin to the midwicket boundary.

12.43am - WICKET! Rogers b Stokes 11; Aus 51/2 - Rogers pulls a ball that does not get up and he under-edges between his legs onto leg stump, giving England the relatively early wickets they wanted. Michael Clarke gets off the mark first ball with a single into the covers and Watson then powerfully pulls for four.

12.36am - Stokes sends down a maiden to Watson, who ends the next over with a single to leg off Rankin that raises Australia’s fifty.

12.26am - Big Boyd Rankin is into the attack, taking over from Anderson. Watson straight away plays and misses with a loose cut. Rankin’s second ball is a steepling bouncer that troubles the right-hander, who soon gets off strike with three through midwicket.

12.24am - Carberry keeps Watson to three with some smart work near the rope after Watson cover-drives Stokes on the up.

12.13am - Ben Stokes replaces Broad, and Watson immediately drives through mid-off for four.

12.08am - Rogers and Watson eschew risk in two overs following the breakthrough.

11.56pm - WICKET! Warner b Broad 16; Aus 22/1 - The left-hander pays for trying to drive a fullish delivery with little foot movement, having his off stump clipped. Broad is rewarded for pitching the ball up despite twice being driven down the ground in his previous over. Shane Watson immediately gets going with a cover-driven four.

11.52pm - Anderson keeps Warner quiet with a maiden.

11.47pm - Warner drives down the ground for fours either side of cutting Broad aerially through point for another boundary as the athletic Michael Carberry, diving to his left, cannot get near it.

11.40pm - Stuart Broad shares the new ball and David Warner gets the game’s first runs with two through cover-point. Rogers then opens his account by guiding a four between the slips and gully.

11.34pm - James Anderson opens the bowling with a maiden featuring plenty of movement to Chris Rogers.

Pre-Play News

11.25pm - The national anthems are being sung, England’s first. Not long to go until the action starts.

11.15pm - England also went into the Sydney Test 4-0 down in 2003 and responded with a win inspired in part by Andy Caddick’s 10 wickets, which he exclusively recalls for ecb.co.uk here.

11.01pm - ENGLAND WIN THE TOSS & BOWL - Ballance, Borthwick and Rankin indeed play in place of Joe Root, Monty Panesar and Tim Bresnan. The hosts are unchanged, meaning they keep the same team throughout the series - the first time that has happened in a five-game rubber.

10.55pm - The toss is in five minutes. With overcast conditions and a green-tinged pitch looking like favouring the team that bowls first, it should be an important one to win. Can Cook reverse his run of losing the previous four?

10.45pm - Australia, conversely, have the luxury of being able to keep the same team throughout the series. However, all-rounder James Faulkner may well replace batsman George Bailey.

10.35pm - Those three new caps are for Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin. Who will they replace? We’ll find out soon.

10.25pm - England are expected to make changes from the Boxing Day Test, in part due to Monty Panesar having a calf problem. Read about the possible alterations and Alastair Cook’s thoughts ahead of the game here.

10.15pm - Hello and welcome to ecb.co.uk’s live blog coverage of the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Can England avoid a 5-0 whitewash? Stay here to find out over the coming days. The toss is due to take place in 45 minutes and the start of play is set for half an hour later.

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