Sydney, Jan 04 (Agencies): England opening batsmen Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook made a fluttering start after the visitors bowled out Australia on the second day of the final Ashes Test at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Tuesday.

The English pair put on a quickfire half-century stand to put the pressure back on the Australians, who were bowled out for 280.

Cook raised the 50 partnership in 40 minutes – their fourth half-century stand of the series -- with a pull off Peter Siddle as England started positively.

At tea, the tourists were 73 without loss off 16 overs with Strauss on 49, including a six, and Cook not out 19.

Earlier, Mitchell Johnson and Hilfenhaus seized the initiative after lunch with some lusty hitting in a lively 76-run partnership for the ninth wicket.

In three balls, Hilfenhaus smashed Tim Bresnan for six over long-on and Johnson hammered spinner Graeme Swann into the stands and followed up by coming down the wicket to clobber Swann for four.

Their batting pyrotechnics gave some respectability to Australia's score after the home side had teetered at 189 for eight.

Johnson was bowled by Bresnan for 53 off 66 balls and Hilfenhaus was caught behind off James Anderson for 34 from 58 balls.

Australia added 96 runs for the loss of four wickets from 36 overs in the extended morning session.

Up until Hilfenhaus and Johnson's lively cameo, England held the upper hand with tight bowling claiming the wickets of Brad Haddin, Mike Hussey, Steven Smith and Peter Siddle.

Resuming at 134 for four after rain washed out play late on the opening day, Haddin paid for not using his feet and edged an Anderson outswinger to Matt Prior for six.

Hussey and Smith were tied down by accurate line and length bowling and keen fielding, with runs at a premium under cloudy skies, before part-timer Paul Collingwood grabbed the vital wicket of Hussey in the over before the second new ball.

Hussey got an inside edge off his bat and thigh onto his stumps for a fighting 33 off 92 balls.

That left the home side struggling as Strauss wheeled out his front-line pacemen with the second new ball.

Smith was lulled into lashing out at an Anderson outswinger and nicked to Collingwood at slip for 18.

Siddle only lasted four balls before he was snapped up by Strauss at slip for two off Anderson, who finished with 4-66.

The tourists are bidding to win their first series Down Under in 24 years.

England, who lead the series 2-1, outplayed Australia in Adelaide and Melbourne while Australia won the third Perth Test. The first Brisbane Test was drawn.

England were the last team to beat Australia at the SCG in 2003.