Ashes: Wickets tumble as Australia close on series whitewash at SCG
Australia closed day two against England in Sydney on 140-4 in their second innings, a lead of 311.
By Graeme Mair
Last Updated: 05/01/14 1:04am
The tourists were bowled out for 155 to concede a first-innings deficit of 171 before Australia reached 140-4 second time around to extend their lead to 311 at stumps.
Chris Rogers led the charge in the evening session with 73 not out, while the four wickets England picked up - including two for James Anderson during his opening spell - took the tally for the day to 13, a reflection of the variable bounce on offer.
Australia's seam attack had earlier shared the wickets around with three each for Ryan Harris (3-36), Mitchell Johnson (3-33) and Peter Siddle (3-23), while Ben Stokes' 47 was the only score of note on the England card.
England were reduced from an overnight 8-1 to 23-5 during the first hour, the tone being set by Harris trapping Alastair Cook (7) lbw offering no shot with the second ball of the day.
Harris should have had two wickets in two balls but Shane Watson dropped a regulation edge from Ian Bell's first delivery, a rare blemish in the field from Australia - unchanged for the fifth Test in a row - during the series.
Nightwatchman Anderson (7) was hit on the left thumb and then right hand by Johnson and the same bowler brought his 24-ball stay to a merciful end, Australia captain Michael Clarke taking the catch tumbling to his right at second slip.
Kevin Pietersen (3) never settled, aiming several wild strokes and almost running himself out before edging another probing delivery from Harris to Watson, who this time managed to hold a straightforward chance.
And when Siddle found Ian Bell's outside edge to end a 32-ball innings worth two runs, England had lost 15-4 including an exemplary spell of 5-3-6-2 from Harris.
It was a tough situation confronting Gary Ballance in his first Test innings but the Yorkshire left-hander looked assured alongside Stokes as England finally got a partnership going.
The sixth-wicket pair put on 39 either side of lunch but Ballance - who needed a replacement helmet after being struck on the helmet Johnson - was undone by spinner Nathan Lyon (1-57), who had him caught behind for 18 with a delivery that spun enough to kiss the outside edge as he stretched forward in defence.
Durham all-rounder Stokes, fresh from bowling figures of 6-99 on day one, added 49 with Jonny Bairstow to take England close to the follow-on target before both departed in the same Siddle over.
Bairstow (18) picked out George Bailey at short mid-on and Stokes was bowled offering no shot at a delivery that hit the inside part of his off-stump.
Scott Borthwick (1) nicked to Steve Smith at third slip to give Harris his third wicket, England still needing two runs as Boyd Rankin came out to join Stuart Broad (30no).
Rankin drove his third ball from Lyon down the ground for four to avert that possibility and the last-wicket pair threw the bat with abandon during a stand of 30 off 34 balls before Johnson returned to the attack to end Rankin's fun on 13 with a yorker.
That gave Australia the chance to press home their advantage in the evening session, a task they achieved thanks to Rogers' flowing blade.
The veteran left-hander raced to 66-ball half-century, including seven from one shot, running three before Bairstow's shy at the stump went for four overthrows.
Anderson (2-36) found some seam movement, pinning David Warner lbw for 16 with one that shot through and having Watson (9) held one-handed by a diving Bairstow behind the stumps.
Broad (1-26) had Clarke (6) held by Bairstow and Stokes (1-36) claimed his seventh scalp of the match when Steve Smith (7) edged to Cook at first slip.
Bailey (20no) joined Rogers in an unbroken fifth-wicket stand of 49 through to stumps.