Updated: 01/03/2014 07:32 | By Agence France-Presse

England opt to bowl in final Ashes Test

England won the toss and chose to bowl on the opening day of the fifth and final Ashes Test against Australia at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday.

England opt to bowl in final Ashes Test

England test cricket captain Alastair smiles as he looks back during a nets training session at the Sydney Cricket Ground on January 2, 2014

Australia are chasing a 5-0 series whitewash for only the third time in Ashes history.

It was captain Alastair Cook's first toss win of the series and he elected to take first use of an expected lively greenish wicket under overcast conditions.

He said England will give three players their Test debuts -- Gary Ballance, Scott Borthwick and Boyd Rankin -- the first time that has happened since 2006.

It means the tourists will have used 18 players over the five Tests, while Australia have been unchanged.

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

Young leg-spinner Borthwick takes over from Monty Panesar, while speedster Rankin gets his chance at the expense of Tim Bresnan.

Australia, who have made a stunning turnaround since their 3-0 Ashes series defeat in England just months ago, named an unchanged XI for the fifth straight Test match.

All-rounder Shane Watson (groin) and paceman Ryan Harris (knee) were cleared to play.

Mitchell Johnson needs nine wickets to become the fourth Australian bowler to take 40 wickets or more in an Ashes series along with Terry Alderman (twice), Rodney Hogg and Shane Warne.

Of those, only Warne took his 40 wickets in a five-Test series.

The Sydney Cricket Ground is traditionally a spin-friendly wicket and England have won two of the past three Ashes Tests played there.


Australia: David Warner, Chris Rogers, Shane Watson, Michael Clarke (capt), Steve Smith, George Bailey, Brad Haddin, Mitchell Johnson, Peter Siddle, Ryan Harris, Nathan Lyon. 

England: Alastair Cook (capt),  Michael Carberry, Ian Bell, Kevin Pietersen, Gary Ballance, Ben Stokes, Jonny Bairstow, Stuart Broad, James Anderson, Boyd Rankin, Scott Borthwick.

Umpires: Aleem Dar (PAK), Marias Erasmus (RSA)

TV umpire: Tony Hill (NZL)

Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)

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