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Sunday, 16 December, 2018

Not-out batsmen hold key to England escape

Marsh brothers steer Australia to colossal lead in scorching Sydney

Spinner Nathan Lyon pins Dawid Malan lbw as England slipped towards defeat in Sydney
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BT Sport 1, 11.30pm Sunday

Australia are 1-12 to win the fifth Ashes Test and complete a 4-0 series victory over England after turning up the heat on a scorching day in Sydney.

The Aussies declared their first innings on 649-7, with Shaun Marsh making 156 and his brother Mitchell 101, giving the hosts a 303-run lead.

With England's batsmen exhausted after a gruelling 193 overs in the field, Australia swiftly cut through the tourists' top order, reducing them to 68-4.

Skipper Joe Root, tipped to score a half-century on, ended day four unbeaten on 42 with Jonny Bairstow 17 not out and England on 93-4 - still 210 runs away from making Australia bat again.

England are 15-2 to cling on for a draw at the SCG and 350-1 for a miraculous win but there is not much batting to come after the Yorkshire pair of Root and Bairstow.

Moeen Ali, the next man in, has struggled against the spin of Nathan Lyon, who has figures of 2-31 from 19 overs in the second innings and looks hugely threatening.

Tom Curran and Stuart Broad are more suited to a lower-order thrash rather than occupying the crease and Mason Crane and James Anderson are genuine tailenders.

The quality of Australia's four-man bowling attack is reflected by their personal battle to finish as the leading series wicket-taker.

Mitchell Starc leads the way on 22 wickets, despite missing the fourth Test through injury, but Lyon, Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins are all just two scalps behind the left-armer.

Lyon is 1-2 with Sky Bet to take the most wickets in England's second innings. He claimed two of the first four with Starc and Cummins taking one each.

Root is 7-2 with Sky Bet to score a century while bet365 make wicketkeeper Bairstow 9-1 to follow up his marathon effort in the field with a second ton of the series.

Betway quote England's runs line at 219.5 but with so much depending on the not-out batsmen a better bet may be the 5-6 that the tourists reach at least 122 before losing their fifth wicket.

Fall of England fifth wicket over 121.5
1pt 5-6 bet365, Betway

Already advised
J Root to score a second-innings fifty
1pt 13-8 Sky Bet

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The quality of Australia's four-man bowling attack is reflected by their personal battle to finish as the leading series wicket-taker
E.W. Terms
Sky bet