6 Jan 2018

Khawaja ton puts Australia on top at SCG

8:17 pm on 6 January 2018

Usman Khawaja went big then Mitch Marsh went bang in Sydney on day three of the final Ashes Test, putting Australia in the box seat for a 4-0 series win.

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja.

Australian batsman Usman Khawaja. Photo: Photosport

Khawaja's knock of 171 powered Australia to 4-479 at stumps on Saturday and a 133-run lead.

England trailed by 29 runs when legspinner Mason Crane, who could have had Khawaja out for 132 in the final over before lunch if replays didn't reveal a no-ball, finally snagged his maiden Test scalp.

But the tourists failed to kick on after Khawaja was out stumped, with Shaun Marsh and Mitch Marsh further sapping their spirit.

Shaun will resume on 98, while Mitch is 63 not out.

Shaun Marsh successfully reviewed a caught-behind dismissal on 22 and is perfectly placed to peel off his second ton of the series, having thought his international career was over three months ago.

Mitch Marsh scored three runs from his first 30 balls then slapped tweakers Crane and Moeen Ali all over the SCG, passing 50 in 64 deliveries.

The allrounder also put the Decision Review System to good use, successfully referring his lbw dismissal on 55.

The Marsh brothers' unbeaten partnership is already worth 104 runs, making it their highest stand for Australia.

Most of the sold-out crowd of 43,170 arrived on Saturday morning with high hopes of seeing Steve Smith post a record-equalling fourth century of the series.

It now appears likely Sir Donald Bradman will remain the only Australian to have scored four hundreds in an Ashes series at the end of this match.

Smith fell 17 runs short of reaching three figures, offering a low return catch to Moeen. The skipper may have a chance to bat in Australia's second innings but it is no certainty.

The hosts will want England to cook in the field amid 40C heat on Sunday, extending an innings that has already spanned 157 overs, while Nathan Lyon is already licking his lips at the state of the pitch.

"The way Mason Crane was spinning it last night and even Moeen, I was rubbing my hands together," Lyon told ABC Radio.

"The second dig ... will be good fun."

Crane had his moments on debut but ultimately a series of half-shouts, no-ball angst and aborted run-ups has amounted to figures of1-135 from 39 overs.

The low point came when ball-tracking replays suggested Crane trapped Khawaja lbw but the review was rescinded because the legspinner overstepped.

Crane and Stuart Broad argued the point with on-field umpire Kumar Dharmasena, even as players walked off for lunch, but it proved fruitless.