Updated: 01/03/2014 10:17 | By Agence France-Presse

England on top after four early wickets

England claimed four Australian wickets on the first morning of the fifth Ashes Test in Sydney after skipper Alastair Cook won the toss for the first time in the series.


England on top after four early wickets

England bowler Stuart Broad (C) celebrates the cleab blowled of Australian batsman David Warner (L) on the first day of the fifth Ashes cricket Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 3, 2014

Ben Stokes dismissed opener Chris Rogers (11) and skipper Michael Clarke (10) and in the final over of the morning James Anderson trapped Shane Watson leg before wicket for 43.

At lunch, Australia, chasing a 5-0 series whitewash, were 94 for four, with Steve Smith at the crease on eight as the tourists took advantage of a green-tinged SCG wicket.

Australia lost the wicket of David Warner in the first hour, bowled by Stuart Broad for 16, but England had three more breakthroughs in the second hour of play.

Stokes, who has been one of the tourists' few success stories in a lopside series, led the fightback with the key wickets of Melbourne centurion Rogers and Clarke.

Rogers, who scored 116 in Australia's eight-wicket victory in the fourth Test, attempted to pull only to drag the ball on to his leg stump.

And Stokes got the big breakthrough when he coaxed an edge off Clarke to Ian Bell in the slips.

Anderson then grabbed Watson's wicket on the stroke of lunch with an off-cutter cannoning into his pads.

At lunch, Stokes had two wickets for 32, while Anderson and Broad had one wicket each.

England made three changes from Melbourne, handing Test debuts to middle-order batsman Gary Ballance, leg-spinner Scott Borthwick and paceman Boyd Rankin.

Australia, who are chasing a 5-0 sweep for only the third time in Ashes history, remained unchanged for the fifth consecutive Test after all-rounder Watson (groin) and paceman Ryan Harris (knee) were cleared to play. 

England sprung a surprise by dropping Joe Root and elevating Ian Bell to number three, while Michael Carberry kept his place at the top of the order, despite concerns over his slow rate of scoring.

Root, 22, paid the price for scoring just 192 runs at 27.42.

Young leg-spinner Borthwick came in for Monty Panesar, while speedster Rankin got his chance at the expense of Tim Bresnan.

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