Career-best knocks by skipper Steve Smith and Mitchell Marsh gave Australia a stranglehold of the third Ashes Test against England at the WACA on Saturday. Australia hit up a commanding 549 for four at stumps on the third day with Smith and Marsh unbeaten on 229 and 181, respectively, in reply to England's 403 all out. Smith and Marsh have put on an undefeated 301 runs for the fifth wicket in 5 1/2 hours. This gave Australia a 146-run lead and left it well-placed to push for a 3-0 lead in the five-match series and wrest the Ashes for captain Joe Root's team.
England's only success on an otherwise barren day came in the morning when Shaun Marsh was dismissed for 28 runs. He edged an off-spinner from Moeen Ali that turned and bounced, allowing Root to take a regulation catch at slip. Smith continued to torment England with a majestic innings as he surpassed his previous high of 215 runs — also against England at Lord's in July 2015. He batted for a marathon 559 minutes without offering a single chance and struck a six and 28 fours off 390 balls.
While Smith scored his second double century in his 59th Test, the day belonged to Marsh, who scored his maiden Test century in his 22nd appearance. Marsh, recalled to the side after missing nine months following a shoulder reconstruction, silenced his critics with a powerful innings. Following older brother Shaun's century in Adelaide in the second Test, the Marshes became the third siblings to score Ashes centuries after Ian and Greg Chappell and Mark and Steve Waugh.
The only false shot Smith played was when he lobbed a return catch just short of legspinner Dawid Malan just minutes before close of play. Starting the day on 92, Smith brought up his seventh century in 23 Ashes Tests to add to his 141 in the series opener in Brisbane in Australia's 10-wicket win. He reached his 22nd Test century when he flicked swing bowler James Anderson for his 16th boundary in the fifth over of the day. A 59-Test veteran, Smith, 28, reached 1,000 Test runs for the fourth consecutive year.