Ashes 2013-14: Australia in total control after England collapse
|Fifth Test, Sydney (day two)|
|Australia 326 & 140-4 & England 155|
England plumbed new depths even for this bleak Ashes tour as they staggered to 23-5 and then 155 all out before Australia's batsmen built an intimidating lead in the fifth Test.
England's bowlers reduced the hosts to 140-4 in the final session in Sydney but, with a deficit of 311 and counting, the damage had been done as a 5-0 Ashes whitewash moves closer.
England lost captain Alastair Cook to the second ball of the day, and three more batsmen before the first hour was up, as their lowest score against Australia - 45 at this ground 127 years ago - looked under threat.
That unwanted record was avoided but ignominy was not as an Australia side which had been 97-5 just 24 hours earlier took a first-innings lead of 171.
England's day was only minutes old when the horrors began, Cook leaving an inswinger from Ryan Harris to be plumb lbw.
Ian Bell should have gone to the next ball only for Shane Watson to drop a straightforward chance at first slip, but nightwatchman James Anderson followed shortly afterwards when he edged Mitchell Johnson to a diving Michael Clarke at second slip.
A score of 14-3 became 17-4 when Kevin Pietersen pushed out with hard hands at Harris to be safely held by Watson, and Bell - after taking 42 minutes to get off the mark - completed the hour of woe when Peter Siddle produced a beauty to take the outside edge.
With a target of 127 to avoid the follow-on, there was the genuine prospect the match could be over within two days.
Ben Stokes, taker of six wickets in Australia's first-innings 326 and almost the sole sunbeam in a winter of unremitting gloom for England, triggered ironic cheers when he became the first batsman of the top seven to reach double figures.
Debutant Gary Ballance followed suit despite being struck flush on the helmet grille by Johnson, but when Nathan Lyon found turn and bounce to have him caught behind for 18, England had only managed to limp to 62-6.
The determined Stokes provided dogged resistance to add 49 for the eighth wicket with Jonny Bairstow.
But the wicketkeeper poked a poor drive to short mid-on the ball after George Bailey had been placed there to fall for 18, and Stokes followed five balls later when he shouldered arms to have his off stump knocked back by Siddle for a plucky 47.
Debutant Scott Borthwick edged a wide one to third slip for one and, while Stuart Broad clouted an unbeaten 30 in company with Boyd Rankin, who made 13, it was token stuff.
Johnson, Harris and Siddle ended with three wickets apiece, a fitting reflection of the strength and depth of this Australia bowling unit.
Anderson got rid of David Warner lbw for 16 with a clever piece of bowling from round the wicket and had Watson caught behind for nine as England's seamers toiled in the warm evening.
Broad did well to have Clarke caught behind for six and Stokes saw Smith edge a good ball to Cook at first slip, but Chris Rogers compiled another diligent half century, including seven off a single shot thanks to four careless overthrows from Bairstow.
Bailey gave fortuitous support to end on 20 not out as Rogers made an unbeaten 73.
With the highest fourth-innings run-chase on this ground 288 and England's batting in disarray, Australia remain green-and-gold favourites to seal their fifth crushing victory of the series.