PERTH, Australia – A maiden century by Mitchell Marsh and a double hundred by captain Steven Smith marked on Saturday Australia’s dominance on Day 3 of the third Ashes test at the WACA stadium in Australia’s Perth, where they now enjoy a first innings lead of 146 runs with six wickets in hand and two more days to go.
At stumps, Australia were 549/4, having scored 346 runs for the loss of one wicket during its three sessions of play, with a resolute Smith, who batted throughout the day, and a belligerent Marsh not out on their highest test scores of 229 and 181, respectively.
“I really wanted to cash in today (...) We got into a nice position,” Smith said at the end of the day’s play, adding that Marsh “played exceptionally well. I hope he can get a double (hundred) as well.”
The partnership between the two players have gone up to a mammoth 301 runs, a record for the fifth wicket in the Ashes at Perth.
Australia resumed at 203/3 in the morning and lost Shaun Marsh for 28, caught at slip by visiting captain Joe Root off the bowling of off spinner Moeen Ali – which was England’s only success of the day -, bringing the younger Marsh to the crease.
By lunch Australia were 314/4, having reduced England’s lead to 89 runs.
In the afternoon session, Marsh launched an assault on the English bowlers, racing to 100 off 130 balls while Smith steadily moved on to 182 by tea, when the score read 421/4, with Australia leading by 18 runs.
Post-tea, Australia consolidated their position as Smith, who had batted for over six hours, slowly but steadily registered his second double century – off 301 balls -, while Marsh kept the scorers busy at the other end and brought up his 150 off 188 deliveries.
“It’s a great feeling,” Marsh said when asked about his maiden test ton. “I just wanted to bat for as much as I could.”
The hapless English bowlers were whipped all over the park, conceding more than 100 runs in each of the three sessions, with only Jimmy Anderson looking threatening in parts, especially when he got the ball to move after pitching in the cracks.
Australia leads the five-match Ashes test series 2-0.