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Rediff.com  » Cricket » Ashes PHOTOS: Australia take late wickets to peg England back in Sydney

Ashes PHOTOS: Australia take late wickets to peg England back in Sydney

Last updated on: January 04, 2018 14:59 IST

Images from Day 1 of the 5th and final opening Test between Australia and England at the SCG in Sydney on Thursday

Australia's Josh Hazlewood celebrates after dismissing England's Jonny Bairstow

IMAGE: Australia's Josh Hazlewood celebrates after dismissing England's Jonny Bairstow. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Australia stunned England with two late wickets, including that of Joe Root for 83, to leave the tourists wobbling on 233 for five at the end of the rain-disrupted opening day of the fifth and final Test on Thursday.

 

A day that started with incessant light rain washing out the first session had looked like ending with a packed Sydney Cricket Ground bathed in summer sunshine and England's Barmy Army of fans in full triumphant voice.

Root and Dawid Malan had combined for a 133-run partnership to help the tourists to 228 for three when Australia took the new ball with less than half an hour of play remaining.

England's Dawid Malan watches as Australia's captain Steve Smith drops a catch

IMAGE: England's Dawid Malan watches as Australia's captain Steve Smith drops a catch during the first day of the fifth Ashes cricket test match. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Mitchell Starc, back after missing the fourth Test with a bruised heel, induced Root into a flick to square leg where Mitchell Marsh took a superb catch before Josh Hazlewood removed nightwatchman Jonny Bairstow with the last ball of the day.

Malan, who survived a few scares to notch up his fifth Test half century, reached stumps unbeaten on 55.

Despite the Ashes already having been relinquished after the loss of the first three Tests in the series, the tourists had been determined to build on their performance in the drawn fourth Test and secure a consolation victory.

Mark Stoneman, James Vince and Alastair Cook departed relatively cheaply before tea but Australia's bowlers were unable to drive home their advantage until the dramatic climax.

England's Joe Root bats en route his 83

IMAGE: England's Joe Root bats en route his 83. Photograph: Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Both Root and Malan scored slowly -- the captain had six boundaries in his half century and his partner five -- and there were chances to dismiss the latter in particular.

Root had just reached the 50 mark when he called for a single off Nathan Lyon only for Malan, who was on 28, to stand his ground and then set off very late.

Marsh fielded the ball but fired it to the striker's end and Tim Paine's throw to Lyon caused the spinner to spill the ball allowing Malan to make his ground.

Malan had eked his tally to 34 when he got an edge off to a Lyon delivery that eluded both Paine and captain Steve Smith at first slip.

Australia's Josh Hazlewood appeals successfully for the wicket of England's Alastair Cook. The dismissal came via DRS 

IMAGE: Australia's Josh Hazlewood appeals successfully for the wicket of England's Alastair Cook. The dismissal came via DRS. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Cameron Bancroft almost conjured up a sensational run-out from the close field but his throw just missed the mark and Malan again survived.

They were chances that Australia would have rued had the day not ended as well for them as it had started.

Stoneman and Vince had both got starts under brightening skies but they again betrayed their batting frailties to depart for 24 and 25 respectively, both caught behind off Pat Cummins.

Cook made 244 not out in the drawn Melbourne Test last week and looked to be creeping assiduously towards another big tally when Hazlewood intervened.

England's Alastair Cook bats 

IMAGE: England's Alastair Cook bats. Photograph: Mark Kolbe/Getty Images

With the former England captain on 39 and just five runs from becoming the sixth batsman to score 12,000 Test runs, the big paceman fired down a fullish delivery that rapped the 33-year-old on the front pad.

A loud shout for lbw was turned down by umpire Joel Wilson but skipper Steve Smith reviewed immediately with the TV tracking removing any doubt about the ball pitching outside leg and forcing the decision to be reversed.

At 3-0 down in the series with the Ashes already relinquished, England are playing for pride and they continued to show plenty of it even if their batting technique can sometimes be questioned.

Australia's Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing England's Mark Stoneman 

IMAGE: Australia's Pat Cummins celebrates after dismissing England's Mark Stoneman. Photograph: David Gray/Reuters

Left-hander Stoneman survived an early pace barrage and hit a couple of powerful drives for boundaries in his 24 before a rising Cummins delivery took a thick edge off his bat and gave wicket-keeper Tim Paine a simple catch.

Vince was on 25, having put on 60 with Cook, when his attempt at cutting a wide Cummins delivery resulted in a thick top edge which Paine gratefully snaffled up behind the stumps.

Both teams made one change to their sides with England handing leg spinner Mason Crane his Test debut in place of injured all-rounder Chris Woakes.

Australia brought left-arm pace spearhead Mitchell Starc back into the side after he missed the drawn fourth Test in Melbourne because of a bruised heel. 

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