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Smith, Marsh masterclass strengthen Australia's chances of reclaiming Ashes

Steve Smith celebrates reaching his double century during the third day's play in Perth
Steve Smith celebrates reaching his double century during the third day's play in Perth

England 403 (Malan 140) v
Australia 549-4 (Smith 229no)
Third Test, Perth, day three

Steven Smith and Mitchell Marsh shared an unbeaten 301 run stand for the fifth wicket as Australia dominated day three and went on to post 549 for four at stumps in the third Test against England in Perth.

As a result, they now lead England by 146 runs in the first innings with six wickets in hand.

Australia started the day with a score of 203 for three with skipper Smith (229 not out) remaining unbeaten on 92. The fourth delivery of the day saw Smith taking a single and helping Australia reach the initial target of avoiding the follow on.

His century came in the first 30 minutes of the day when he scored two boundaries off successive overs and in the process has occupied the ninth position in leading century scorers for Australia - one behind Justin Langer. His century that came off 138 deliveries is also his fastest in this format of the game.

The Aussie skipper soon completed 1000 runs in the calendar year - the fourth time in his career so far he has achieved the milestone.

Shaun Marsh (28) was just started to look positive with two boundaries off successive deliveries from Moeen Ali (1-104) but the off-spinner got his revenge when he had him caught in the slips.

Smith and Mitchell (181 not out) played positively and ensured Australia went into lunch with a score of 314 for four, adding 114 runs in the session. Just at the stroke of lunch, England lost a review while appealing an LBW decision against Smith.

The records continued to tumble at the WACA as Smith reached another 150 plus score while Mitchell also brought his half-century - proving the decision to include him over Peter Handscomb a right one.

The Aussie skipper soon went past Ian Redpath's tally of 171 to record the highest Ashes Test score at the venue as Mitchell upped the ante at the other end scoring six boundaries in a span of five overs against a clueless English attack that flattened as the day progressed.

At the stroke of tea, Mitchell got his maiden Test century and Australia plundered 107 runs from 26 overs in the session to take the total to 421 for four.

Just after the 200 run partnership came, Smith completed his own double ton and became the second player to reach the milestone in a home Ashes Test since 1971 after Langer. In the process he also became the fourth player to score multiple double century in the Ashes which has Sir Don Bradman at the top with eight double tons.

Both Marsh and Smith made most of the tiring English attack as they brought the 300-run partnership at the stroke of stumps to take the tally to 549 for four.

It was also confirmed that seamer Craig Overton (2-102) came to bowl in the third day with a cracked rib with the aid of painkillers.

© Cricket World 2017