Australia set to maintain winning combination

SUDIPTO GANGULY
Last updated 02:06 01/01/2014

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Opening batsman Chris Rogers wants an unchanged Australian team for the fifth and final Ashes test as a reward for the eleven players who beat England in the first four matches to emphatically wrest back the urn.

The hosts have played with the same team since the start of the series in November and they will head to Sydney eyeing a whitewash when the match starts on Friday.

"We've had some good stability," Rogers, who struck a sparkling century to fire Australia to a dominant eight-wicket win in the fourth Ashes test, told reporters on Tuesday.

"I just think it would be nice to have that same 11 standing on the podium at the end.

"The guys who have been here this whole series deserve to be there so it would be nice if we can keep that same team."

Paceman Ryan Harris and all-rounder Shane Watson bowled sparingly in the second innings in Melbourne as they managed respective knee and groin complaints but are expected to be fit for Sydney.

Australia lost 3-0 in the year's first Ashes series in England and few would have seen the reversal Down Under.

Off-spinner Nathan Lyon said the hosts' ruthless performance did not come as a surprise to him and he also expected to be part of an unchanged Australia team.

"We knew it was coming to be honest," Lyon said, adding that Australia were thinking nothing other than winning the series 5-0. "Yes England beat us over there 3-0 but it was a lot closer over there.

"We had opportunities but we fell over at the line and here in Australia we've won the bigger moments and won them pretty well.

"It's been a big reward for what we went through in England."

WHAT AUSTRALIA CAN ACHIEVE IN SYDNEY    

If Australia name an unchanged side to face England in Sydney they will create Test history by becoming:

*The first Australian side to keep the same side for the duration of a five-Test series

*The fourth international team to remain unchanged through a five-match campaign

*The first Australian side since 1989 (in what was a six-Test series) to field the same XI for five consecutive Tests in an Ashes series.

If Australia win the Test they will become:

*Just the third side in Ashes history to complete a 5-0 series whitewash. Australia also did it in 1920-21 and 2005-06

*And Australia will move up two places to No.3 on the Test rankings ahead of February's clash with the world's No.1 team South Africa.

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- Reuters

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