By KEIRAN SMITH
2014-01-05 10:22 AM
SYDNEY (AP) -- Chris Rogers reached his third test century as Australia moved to 248-7 in its second innings on Sunday, extending its lead over England to 419 runs on the third day of the fifth test at the Sydney Cricket Ground.
Rogers was 114 not out at lunch, having put on a 109-run fifth-wicket stand with George Bailey as Australia comfortably accumulated what appears to be an unassailable target for England to avoid a 5-0 series whitewash.
Rogers brought up his second consecutive hundred -- after a match winning 116 in Melbourne last week -- by cutting part time spinner Kevin Pietersen for four in the 45th over. Rogers' fluent innings came off 143 balls, including 13 boundaries.
Australia lost three wickets -- Bailey, Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson -- in the morning session. At lunch Ryan Harris was one not out.
Rogers, who had an unconvincing start to the series, has found his best form and on Sunday he frequently punctured the England field with fluent cover drivers, including consecutive boundaries off one Stokes over.
The 36-year-old is Australia's leading run scorer across the 10 Ashes tests, with 844 runs and three centuries.
Bailey contributed 46, with six fours, in a century stand with Rogers before chasing a high delivery from Stuart Broad (2-57) and was caught by Scott Borthwick deep on the leg side.
It was a disappointing end for the one-day specialist who had looked more comfortable than at any time during the series, in which he has scored only one half-century. It remains to be seen if he has convinced selectors to retain him for the South Africa tour in late February.
Borthwick (1-16) claimed his second test wicket by bowling Haddin for 28 when the wicketkeeper was looking to haul the spinner to the onside.
Brad Haddin's 493 this series was the most runs by an Australian wicketkeeper in a series, passing Adam Gilchrist's 473 runs from 2001-02 series against South Africa -- although Gilchrist's tally was in a three test series.
Ben Stokes (2-62) got his eighth wicket of the match when he bowled Johnson for four.
England's dire position in this test was best highlighted when captain Alastair Cook brought on part-time spinner Kevin Pietersen rather than use specialist bowler Borthwick. Pietersen has 10 wickets at an average of 86 runs in his 104-test career.
Michael Clarke's team is hoping to emulate the feats of Warwick Armstrong's 1920-21 and Ricky Ponting's 2006-07 teams in winning an Ashes series 5-0. It would also be the biggest Ashes series turnaround, having lost the previous series 3-0 in England last year.