England's Boyd Rankin (right) is bowled by Mitchell Johnson (2nd right) of Australia on Day 2 of the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG in Sydney, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014.
England's Boyd Rankin (right) is bowled by Mitchell Johnson (2nd right) of Australia on Day 2 of the fifth Ashes Test at the SCG in Sydney, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014. AAP Image - Paul Miller

Dismal English batting sets clear run for Ashes whitewash

AUSTRALIA closed in on a 5-0 Ashes Series whitewash in Sydney yesterday, when it again made a mockery of a seemingly listless England batting line-up in the final Test.

Australia, which made 326 on Friday, restricted the tourists to just 155.

Michael Clarke's men then forged to 4-140 in their second dig to boast a 311-run lead at the close of day two.

England would have held high hopes when it resumed its first innings at 1-8 yesterday morning, but instead the tourists were embarrassed.

It lost the prized wicket of out-of-form captain Alastair Cook (27) on the second ball of the day when he padded up to an in-line ball from Ryan Harris (3-36).

Incoming batsman Ian Bell was dropped the next ball when his outside edge was spilled by first slip Shane Watson.

But Jimmy Anderson, who came in late on Saturday as night watchman, went soon after for seven when he poked at a delivery from Mitchell Johnson (3-33) and was smartly caught by Clarke in the slips cordon.

The tourists were stunned at 4-17 when Kevin Pieterson (3) drove and edged a ball from Harris and Watson made sure of the catch.

Bell (2) was next to go when he edged a length ball from Peter Siddle (3-23) to keeper Brad Haddin and England was 5-23.

Soon after lunch, debutant Gary Ballance (18) was undone by spinner Nathan Lyon (1-57), whose turning delivery was edged to Haddin, leaving England at 6-62.

A HANDY partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Ben Stokes was ended when the former went hard at a Siddle delivery but scooped it up to George Bailey at silly mid-on to be out for 18.

Siddle clean bowled a valiant Stokes (47) five balls later and England was 8-112.

Newcomer Scott Borthwick was out for one when an edged drive off Harris found Steve Smith at third slip.

When England's No.11, debutant Boyd Rankin (13), was bowled, Stuart Broad was stranded on 30 with the score on 155.

Series star Johnson was at his fiery best in claiming three wickets and striking Anderson on the hand, Ballance on the helmet and Stokes on the foot.

Australia started its second innings with Warner thrashing boundaries, but when he was trapped in front for 16 by Anderson (2-36) and Watson (9) was caught behind off the same bowler, the hosts were struggling at 2-47.

Clarke was dismissed for six when caught behind off the reliable Broad (1-26), and Smith was caught in slips by Cook off Stokes (1-36) with the score on 4-91.

Gritty opener Chris Rogers (73 not out) and under-pressure batsman Bailey (20 not out) were at the crease at the end of play after forging a partnership of 59 runs.

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