Steve Smith’s third Test century and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin’s half century sparked a strong comeback for Australia after a top order collapse on day one of the fifth Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.
Smith’s near-flawless 115 and a 128-run partnership with Haddin (75) took Australia to 326 all out after the hosts had slumped to 97/5 following lunch, swinging the match heavily back into Australia’s favor as it seeks a 5-0 series sweep over England.
“I think we’ve had a good day. When you get sent in and get 326, you’d take that and to have them one for overnight, as well, we’re in a good position and hopefully we can start well with the ball and take a few wickets.”
Ben Stokes took 6/99, including three wickets in the final over of the Australian innings, to try to give England some much needed momentum heading into its first innings. But Mitchell Johnson struck early to remove Michael Carberry for a duck to leave England at 8/1 at stumps. Johnson (1/3) had Carberry spectacularly caught at leg slip by Nathan Lyon after fending a short ball off his ribs in the fourth over for his 32nd wicket of the series. England captain Alastair Cook was unbeaten on 7 with nightwatchman James Anderson 1 not out at the end of play.
Smith’s second century in three Tests came off 142 balls and included 16 boundaries and a six over mid-wicket off Borthwick to move to 99, followed by a four in the same over to reach the milestone to the delight of a boisterous hometown crowd of 45,352.
“It’s my favorite place to play so I’m absolutely delighted to have got a hundred out here in tough circumstances and get the team in a good position,” said Smith, who has made all three of his Test centuries against England. For the third time this series, Haddin played a key role in rescuing Australia’s innings, scoring his sixth half century of the Australian summer as part of the 128-run stand with Smith to put the hosts