The Ashes: Ton-up Smith rescues Australia after Stokes' heroics with ball

Steve Smith Ben StokesSteve Smith (L) and Ben Stokes (R) were the star performers for both sides on a very well-fought Day 1 of the fifth and final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Friday (AP)

Steve Smith scored a sparkling century and put on 128 for the sixth wicket with Brad Haddin to rescue Australia and push the hosts to 326 all out shortly before close of play on the first day of the fifth Ashes Test against England on Friday.

England, desperate to avoid a 5-0 series sweep, lost a wicket in the gloaming when Mitchell Johnson had Michael Carberry caught at leg slip for a duck, leaving captain Alastair Cook (seven) and nightwatchman James Anderson (1) at eight for one at stumps.

Smith was the final Australian wicket to fall for 115 and while his second century of the series put a thick layer of gloss on the day for the hosts, there was no doubt the momentum shifted with wicketkeeper Haddin's 90-ball 75.

Australia were well and truly on the ropes at 97 for five after England struck twice in the 15 minutes before lunch and then dismissed George Bailey for one within 10 minutes of the resumption.

Haddin, as he has in all four previous Tests when his team were in similarly precarious positions, came out oozing positivity and took the game to the bowlers with a barrage of aggressive strokes.

England contributed to their own demise by bowling short to a batsman who was clearly happy to pull and hook to the boundary all day with Ben Stokes (6-99) suffering particular punishment.

The torment for the tourists only deepened when paceman Boyd Rankin, one of three new caps in the side, hobbled off the field after lunch with what looked like a left hamstring strain.

The tall Irishman returned to bowl in the final session but lasted just one delivery before having to limp back off the field.

Haddin grabbed his fifth half century of the series before tea with a hurried single and Smith joined him with a half century of his own with a cover drive for four soon after the break.

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