Australia skittled England for 155 in its first innings and then built a lead of 311 runs on the second day of the fifth Ashes test at the Sydney Cricket Ground to edge closer to a 5-0 series whitewash.
Chris Rogers (73 not out) scored his fourth half century of the series and George Bailey was unbeaten on 20 to lead Australia to 140-4 at stumps after the bowlers had earlier ripped through the England batting lineup in just over four hours.
The pace trio of Peter Siddle, Mitchell Johnson and Ryan Harris took three wickets apiece to dampen any hopes England may have had of avoiding a repeat of the 2006-07 Australian series sweep.
“It’s no coincidence that they haven’t got runs because we bowled well to them, it’s as simple as that,” Harris said. “It’s obviously not a done thing yet, we’ve got to make sure we bat well in the morning and get some more and bowl like we did today to bowl them out again.”
“I think it’s just the pressure we’ve put on the whole series, we haven’t allowed them to play the way they want.”
England did stage a rally after tea with Jimmy Anderson trapping David Warner lbw for 16 and snaring Shane Watson caught behind for nine, before Stuart Broad had Australia captain Michael Clarke caught behind for six.
Ben Stokes then had first innings centurion Steve Smith caught by Alastair Cook for seven, but Rogers, who hit nine boundaries in his 89 balls, and Bailey still managed to steer Australia to a lead of over 300 runs before the end of the day.
“Having spent a long time in cricket, I would say it is pretty disappointing today, but 326 is way over par on this pitch, in my opinion, said England batting coach Graham Gooch. “So once that score’s on the board it’s always going to be difficult and once we got the start and did lose those early wickets.
“Our players have not met the challenge with the bat obviously. We’ve not competed how as we’d like to and we haven’t shown the skills that have been necessary.”
The hosts’ disappointment was short-lived, though, as Johnson, who had captured Michael Carberry for a duck late on day one, removed Anderson for seven.
Siddle (3-23) entered the attack next and captured Ian Bell for two, caught by Brad Haddin to hold England to 23-5 before lunch.
“We knew we had to start well and pick up early wickets,” Harris said. “We didn’t think we’d get that many, I guess.”
Spinner Nathan Lyon took the first wicket of the middle session, having debutant Gary Ballance caught behind by Haddin for 18, before Stokes and Jonny Bairstow combined for a 49-run partnership to steady England’s innings.
Siddle broke the partnership by having Bairstow caught by Bailey at short mid-on for 18 and then bowling Stokes for 47 after the allrounder made a poor judgment to leave a ball which cannoned into his off stump.
Stokes, who took 6-99 in Australia’s innings, hit four boundaries and was the only England batsman to adapt to the hostile bowling conditions.
Rankin combined with Broad for a last wicket partnership of 30 runs to help England avoid the follow—on, giving the team’s traveling supporters among the 43,579 crowd a rare highlight during another disappointing day in the Ashes series.