Ashes 2017-18

Ashes 2017-18: Smith's 92 gives Australia an edge at the end of day 2

[caption id="attachment_59957" align="aligncenter" width="580"]Steve Smith Steve Smith remained 92 not out at the end of day's play. Image Source: ICC[/caption]

Internet Desk: Steven Smith once again stood as the big hurdle for England as the visiting side looked to take charge after posting 403 in its first innings. The Australia captain scored 92 not out, leading his side to stumps at a respectable 203 for 3 on the second day of the third Ashes Test at the WACA ground in Perth on Friday (December 15).

England was in a strong position overnight at 304 for 4, but a familiar collapse helped Australia claw its way back into the contest despite Jonny Bairstow’s century.

Dawid Malan, who scored his maiden Test century on the first day, and Bairstow seemed in total command of proceedings in the morning, guiding England to 368 for 4 before six wickets fell for just 35 runs and England was bowled out before lunch.

David Warner (22) and Cameron Bancroft (25) began the response steadily, but Craig Overton extracted bounce and a hint of movement to remove them both in quick succession.

But Smith and Usman Khawaja steadied the ship with a 124-run stand for the third wicket before Chris Woakes trapped Khawaja lbw for 50 and Khawaja had to walk back despite asking for a review.

Smith was wary initially as he negotiated the England pacers but then put the pressure back on the visiting side, striking 14 fours and one six in his 122-ball stay at the crease so far. When play ended, he was eight short of his 22nd Test century.

Bairstow and Malan started the day well for England and stretched their partnership to 237 runs when the latter fell to a fine catch taken by Peter Handscomb, the substitute fielder, off Nathan Lyon for 140.

That brought to end a record fifth-wicket stand for England against Australia, surpassing the 206 runs put on by Eddie Paynter and Dennis Compton at Trent Bridge in 1938.

Bairstow got to his fourth Test century but was dismissed by Mitchell Starc (4 for 91) for 119 as wickets fell in a heap after Malan’s exit. Josh Hazlewood finished with three scalps, while Pat Cummins claimed two.

Australia is 2-0 up in the series and will secure the urn if it wins in Perth, but the forecast is of rain on the final two days.

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