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Ashes: England on top as rain hits Sydney Test match

Fifth Ashes Test: Australia 134-4 v England (stumps, day one)
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground Date: 3-7 January (resumes 2300 GMT on 3 Jan) Coverage: Live on Test Match Special on BBC 5 live sports extra, Radio 4 LW & online; TMS highlights online (UK only) and day's review on the TMS podcast; live text on BBC Sport website; live on Sky Sports 1; highlights on ITV4
Match scorecard

Tim Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Shane Watson
Tim Bresnan celebrates the wicket of Shane Watson

By Oliver Brett

Australia slid from 105-1 to 134-4 as England ended day one of the final Ashes Test on top in rainy Sydney.

Tim Bresnan was the most successful bowler, taking 2-47 as England made the most of overhead cloud cover and a pitch offering some seam movement.

Rain took the players off for 90 minutes in the middle of the day and England picked up two late wickets before a second and final stoppage.

Michael Clarke made just four in his first Test as Australia's captain.

His fortunes contrasted with those of debutant Usman Khawaja, the 24-year-old left-hander displaying plenty of confidence before coming unstuck late on and top-edging a sweep off Graeme Swann to depart for 37.

Khawaja was caught by Jonathan Trott at square-leg, and that was the last act of a day which had seen Shane Watson (45) make yet another start without registering a major score, while Phillip Hughes (31) compiled his best score in eight Test innings against England.

Hughes fell to Chris Tremlett, while James Anderson got through 20 overs and was unlucky not to pick up at least one wicket of his own.

In his first Test as captain with Ricky Ponting out injured, Clarke arrived early for the coin toss, and looked a little nervous. He could be granted the role on a permanent basis later this year if Australia pull off a win in Sydney, and thus stop England winning the series.

After undisciplined performances from the top order in previous Tests - and whether or not galvanised to change tactics by Clarke - Watson and Hughes addressed the new ball with caution. Even so, the first hour was a difficult period for the batting side.

Anderson had two close lbw shouts against Watson, while a lobbed edge from Hughes off Tremlett somehow failed to reach the slip cordon on the full.

The batsmen opened up a little approaching lunch but with the interval just three balls away, the left-handed Hughes pushed forward outside the off-stump at Tremlett, despite the angle taking the ball further away from the danger area. The thick edge flew fast to Paul Collingwood at third slip, and England's best catcher made no mistake.

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It was a tame end for Hughes, who had shown some glimpses of the fluency that had brought him centuries in each innings in his second Test match against South Africa in March 2009.

Watson resumed after lunch with Khawaja as his companion, a player with a strong domestic record who was born in Pakistan and is the first Muslim to play for Australia.

Khawaja calmly tucked his first ball away through the on-side for two, before despatching Tremlett's next offering, an attempted bouncer, away for four.

Watson had not managed a single boundary of his own before lunch, but was suddenly keen to get involved, and hit three fours off Anderson.

Meanwhile, Khawaja, playing the ball late from a high back-lift with hands low on the bat handle, consolidated intelligently as the skies darkened overhead.

Bresnan prised out Watson with a good ball that just seamed away a fraction and was edged to Andrew Strauss at first slip before the first tranche of rain arrived before tea.

Once under way again, Clarke's 21-ball innings soon came to an end when he played a loose cut shot at Bresnan, Anderson clinging onto a catch in the gully.

The weather closed in again as Khawaja looked anxious to move the score along, and he paid the price for his impetuosity as he faced Swann for the first time.

Mike Hussey - a prolific force in the first three Tests - was unbeaten on 12 at stumps. Brad Haddin will join forces with him on day two, when play can start half an hour early, at 2300 GMT, to make up for some of the 31 overs lost on Monday.

Australia's batsmen will hope the morning showers forecast for the area miss the SCG this time.

Listen to commentary highlights from the fifth Test (UK users only)

TMS podcast: Jonathan Agnew and Geoff Boycott's review (available worldwide)



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see also
Bowling first suited us - Bresnan
03 Jan 11 |  England
Jonathan Agnew column
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Justin Langer column
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Ponting to undergo finger surgery
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Fifth Ashes Test day one photos
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Monday's Ashes gossip column
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Australia select Khawaja and Beer
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Swann questions Aussie selection
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Moores exit was key - Pietersen
31 Dec 10 |  Cricket
Ponting ruled out of Sydney Test
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England seal win to retain Ashes
29 Dec 10 |  England
Cook backs under-fire Collingwood
21 Dec 10 |  England
Live cricket on the BBC
26 Oct 11 |  Cricket
England in Australia 2010-11
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