Updated: Saturday, 04 January 2014 10:14 | By Agence France-Presse

Sorry England collapse against Australia during final Ashes Test

England suffered yet another demoralising top-order collapse against rampant Australia on the second day of the final Ashes Test in Sydney on Saturday, as they slip inexorably towards a 5-0 series defeat.


Sorry England collapse against Australia during final Ashes Test

England batsman Kevin Pietersen dives to make his ground watched by Australian bowler Mitchell Johnson on the second day of their fifth Ashes Test, at the Sydney Cricket Ground, on January 4, 2014

At one stage the beleaguered tourists were 23 for five in their first innings -- with the likes of Alastair Cook, Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell back in the dressing room -- and in danger of falling short of their record low score of 45 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, set in 1887.

But debutant Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes helped stop the rot with a gritty stand against tight and penetrative Australian bowling to leave England 61-5 at lunch, trailing Australia by 265 runs.

Ballance, who took a Mitchell Johnson bouncer flush on the helmet and needed replacement headgear shortly before the interval, was on 17 in 87 minutes with Stokes not out 23 in 60 minutes.

On a disastrous morning, the battered tourists lost Cook (7) to the second ball of the day when the skipper was trapped leg before wicket by Ryan Harris without offering a shot.

Bell was dropped by Shane Watson off the next ball but nightwatchman James Anderson, who needed treatment after taking a jarring blow on his right bowling hand fending off a rearing Johnson delivery, did not last long.

He edged Johnson to Michael Clarke at second slip for seven, leaving the tourists 14-3 in the 10th over.

It was Johnson's 33rd wicket of the series as he bids to become only the fourth Australian bowler to take 40 wickets or more in an Ashes series along with Terry Alderman (twice), Rodney Hogg and Shane Warne.

The dominant home side, looking to claim only the third 5-0 series whitewash in Ashes history, followed up with the wicket of Kevin Pietersen (3), snapped up in the slips by Watson off Harris, to leave the tourists 17-4. 

Bell was then out for two, caught behind by Brad Haddin off Peter Siddle to make it 23-5.

At lunch, Johnson had two wickets for 19 and new-ball partner Harris 2-28.

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