Khawaja answers critics, Smith celebrates milestone to put Australia on top
Usman Khawaja closed in on a century, while in-form captain Steve Smith reached another milestone to put Australia in a promising position on the second day of the fifth and final Ashes Test at the SCG.
After England were bowled out for 346 before lunch in Sydney despite a late wag from the tail, Pat Cummins taking 4-80, before under-fire Khawaja (91 not out), big-hitting opener David Warner (56) and Smith impressed with the bat on Friday.
Khawaja - criticised for his batting throughout the Ashes - celebrated his third fifty of the series and 11th of his Test career in an unbroken stand of 107 with Smith after Warner also raised his bat for a half-century as Australia reached 193-2 at stumps, 153 runs adrift.
Smith (44 not out), who survived a scare after edging through the slips late in the day, hit his 6,000th Test run to become the second fastest to reach the landmark alongside West Indies great Garry Sobers.
Cameron Bancroft was unable to silence his critics in favourable batting conditions amid doubts over his form, having struggled since scoring an unbeaten 82 on debut at the Gabba in November.
The 25-year-old opener lasted just seven deliveries, bowled by Stuart Broad (1-28) for a duck - a full and straight ball nipping back past the inside edge and into middle stump.
Warner looked to have settled in at the crease after celebrating his 27th Test fifty, and fourth of the series, but he edged a James Anderson (1-25) delivery through to Jonny Bairstow just before tea.
Khawaja and Smith prevented the tourists from making further inroads, though, leg-spinner Mason Crane bowling 17 overs without reward on his debut.
Australia struggled in the field early in the day - Cummins and Josh Hazlewood guilty of wasting straightforward chances, though Smith took a sensational one-handed catch to remove Dawid Malan - but the hosts still managed to clean up the England first innings.
Resuming on 233-5 after Australia struck late to dismiss Joe Root and Bairstow late on Thursday, the momentum remained with the hosts thanks to Smith's brilliance.
One for the highlight-reel, Smith - who dropped Malan (62) on 34 on day one - took a stunning catch to remove the England left-hander from a Mitchell Starc (2-30) delivery after diving low to his left.
Cummins then put down a simple chance to get rid of Tom Curran which robbed the luckless Nathan Lyon (1-86) of his first wicket of the match after Smith's miss on the opening day.
Paceman Cummins almost made amends for his drop with his first ball but it was Hazlewood's (2-65) turn to make a mistake in the field - a skier put up by Moeen Ali going straight through the bowler's hands.
Cummins eventually got his man when Moeen (30) gloved through to wicketkeeper Tim Paine, though Broad (31) and Curran (39) added much-needed runs - the former clearing the ropes twice - to frustrate Australia.
However, Cummins ended the partnership, Curran sent back to the pavilion before Broad was taken by Smith to give Lyon an elusive wicket before debutant Mason Crane's (4) run out ended the innings.