Perth, Dec 16: Riding on skipper Steven Smith's second Test double-century and all-rounder Mitchell Marsh's maiden ton, Australia tightened their grip over England in the third Ashes Test reaching 549/4 at stumps on Day 3 at the WACA ground here on Saturday.
Smith, Marsh put England to sword
At close, Smith was on 229 and Mitchell on 181 even as England had fallen 146 runs behind after conceding 346 runs for just one wicket.
Smith went on to get his highest Test score, while also passing 1000 runs in the calendar year in the five-day format.
Mitchell, meanwhile, got to his maiden Test century on his home ground.
Smith and Mitchell got together after Shaun Marsh had fallen early in the first session to off-spinner Moeen Ali for 28, and domited the England attack to put on an unbroken stand of 301 for the fifth wicket without offering a single chance.
Resuming on 92, Smith reached his 22nd Test century off 138 balls, his quickest in terms of balls faced. He then reached his double-century from 301 balls, hitting 26 fours and one six.
Mitchell came to the crease under pressure to perform having dropped a simple catch and bowled poorly during the England innings. He started nervously but settled down and got to his century from the penultimate over before tea. He had faced 130 balls for his century and a number of powerful drives were a feature of his landmark Test innings, which has lasted 234 balls so far and included 29 hits to the fence.
Australia lead the five-match series 2-0 and can regain the Ashes with a victory here.
Brief Scores: England 403 vs Australia 549/4 (Steven Smith 229 not out, Mitchell Marsh 181 not out; Craig Overton 2/102). IANS