England were 8-1 in reply to Australia’s 326 in its first innings on Friday, the first day of the fifth Ashes cricket test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
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.
Smith’s near-flawless 115, including 16 boundaries and one six, and a 128-run partnership with Haddin (75) took Australia to 326 all out on the opening day after the hosts had slumped to 97-5 shortly after lunch.
Ben Stokes took 6-99 including three wickets in the final over of the Australian innings to give England some much needed momentum ahead of its first innings.
England made three changes for the fifth test with Scott Borthwick, Boyd Rankin and Gary Ballance all making their test debuts as the tourists attempt to avoid a repeat of the humiliating 5-0 whitewash from the 2006-07 Ashes series.
Ballance replaced Joe Root and will bat at No. 5, with Ian Bell moving up to No. 3. Leg-spinning all-rounder Borthwick replaced off-spinner Monty Panesar, while seamer Rankin came in for Tim Bresnan.
Borthwick is the first leg-spinner to play for England since Ian Salisbury against Pakistan in 2000.
Australia made no changes to the XI that convincingly won the first four tests and regained the Ashes, becoming just the fourth team to keep the same line-up in each match of a five-test series.
Only England against Australia in 1884-85, South Africa against England in 1905-06 and West Indies against Australia in 1991 achieved the feat.
Australia, fifth in the test rankings, can overtake England and move into third place with a 5-0 series win.