Man of the day

Renaissance man Brad Haddin again starred with the bat on the opening day of the fifth Ashes Test

Last Updated: 03/01/14 8:59am

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There were several worthy candidates for man of the day honours at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday; Steve Smith scored most runs, Ben Stokes claimed a maiden Test five-wicket haul, but Brad Haddin is our choice after his latest rescue act.

Haddin dominated a sixth-wicket stand of 128 with fellow local boy Smith to once again lead Australia out of first innings trouble.

The wicketkeeper's runs from No 7 in the order - 465 of them in seven innings - have been a recurring theme in his side building a 4-0 lead coming into the final Test.

His first-innings scores read 94, 118, 55, 65 and 75, each one of those knocks coming with the game at a crossroad.

Today he walked to the middle shortly after lunch with the score on 97-5 and the bowlers on top in overcast conditions, making good on England captain Alastair Cook's decision to bowl first.

But the script soon took a familiar turn, Haddin latching onto a succession of short balls as England's seamers lost their discipline.

By the time he departed for 75 in mid-afternoon, edging a drive to slip off Stokes, the sun was out and Australia's march towards a 5-0 whitewash firmly back on course.

Smith rammed home the point with some flamboyant strokeplay to move to his second century of the series and see Australia up to 326 - a formidable effort on a pitch already showing variable bounce.

For the 36-year-old Haddin it was just the latest chapter of a career resurgence that has already included his first Ashes series victory at the fourth attempt.

In Australia's corresponding fixture a year ago, Matthew Wade - more than a decade Haddin's junior - made a century that appeared to cement his position as the wicketkeeper for the long haul.

But Wade's iffy glovework combined with the sudden dearth of experience in Australia's squad following the retirements of Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey, opened the door for Haddin's comeback - one he continues to make the most of it.

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