Live: Poms’ Ashes young gun breaks 90-year record
AUSTRALIA and England will both be hoping for a spicier deck in Sydney than the lifeless strip offered up for the Boxing Day Test as they clash for the last time in the whites this summer.
Mitchell Starc has recovered from a heel injury to take his place in the XI for his home Test as the Aussies aim to condemn the Poms to a winless series.
England played its best cricket of the series in Melbourne and will be hoping to carry on that good form under grey skies at the SCG.
The covers were on to start the morning as showers peppered the harbour city, but the rain is expected to clear.
Play is scheduled to start at 10.30am AEDT.
NSW rep makes Ashes debut for England
Mason Crane will make his Test debut for England in the fifth and final Ashes Test in Sydney after Chris Woakes was ruled out due to injury.
The leg-spinner steps in after Woakes underwent scans for a side injury, having played little part in net practice on Tuesday afternoon.
Woakes, a regular across all formats and part of the one-day international squad to face Australia later this month, suffered a torn side in the first match of England's ICC Champions Trophy campaign against Bangladesh six months ago.
Captain Joe Root expects pitch conditions in Sydney to suit 20-year-old Crane, who will become the youngest specialist spinner to play for England in 90 years - Ian Peebles played as a 19-year-old against South Africa in 1927/28.
"On this surface, he's going to be a really good option," Root said. "It looks like it should give a bit of turn throughout."
Crane, who has made two Twenty20 appearances, comes into the Test having taken five wickets for NSW at the SCG last year - the spinner was the first overseas player to represent the state since Pakistan's Imran Khan in 1984/85.
He earnt his call-up after taking 45 wickets in 11 appearances for Gordon in Sydney Premier Cricket, making him the leading wicket-taker in the competition.
"The way he went about those Twenty20s shows he is right up for international cricket and he's not someone that is going to back down from any challenge," Root said.
Australia holds an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series and welcomes back Mitchell Starc, who is back bowling at full pelt again, having been forced to sit out last week's draw in Melbourne with a bruised heel.
Asked for his advice for the returning Starc, who will replace Jackson Bird in the XI, Smith said: "Make sure you're completely fit, and don't be doing further damage
"We have obviously got some one-dayers after this, Twenty20s and an important (Test) series in South Africa as well.
"That was the conversation I had after the Perth Test match - we've wrapped up the series, which is great, and we want to continue winning but you're a key member of our line-up, so don't do further damage because we need you in South Africa."