Ashes slipping away from England as Smith hits double century for Australia

From BBC - December 16, 2017

Australia captain Steve Smith struck a magnificent double century and Mitchell Marsh a huge hundred of his own to demoralise England on the third day of the third Ashes Test in Perth.

The fifth-wicket pair shared a stand of 301 as Australia racked up 549-4 at the Waca, a lead of 146.

Smith - who made 141 not out in his side's first-Test win in Brisbane - batted throughout the day, moving from his overnight 92 to an unbeaten 229, his highest Test score.

Marsh, on his return to the side, compiled his maiden Test ton on his home ground and was 181 not out at the close.

England managed only one wicket all day - their attack wholehearted but lacking the tools to be incisive on a flat pitch and under scorching sunshine.

Australia's remorselessness - they added 346 to their overnight 203-3 -highlighted the tourists' profligacy on the second day, when they lost six wickets for 35 runs to slip from 368-4 to 403 all out.

At 2-0 down, England must avoid defeat on a ground where they have not won since 1978 if they are to avoid surrendering the Ashes at the earliest possible opportunity.

With the chance of victory now looking slim, it is likely they will have to bat for much of the fourth and fifth days in order to save the game.

The pitch is only showing occasional signs of wear and there is rain forecast for Sunday and Monday - but they are only small crumbs of comfort for an England side who will have to face the fierce Australia attack after the best part of two days in the field.

Brilliant Smith grinds England down

Such was Smith's comfort, calmness and composure, a massive score seemed inevitable both when he arrived at the crease on Friday and again when he resumed on Saturday.

It was chanceless and ruthless from the skipper, who moved his batting average to 62.89, second to only the great Sir Donald Bradman on the all-time list.

He reached his 22nd Test century in the fifth over of the day by clipping James Anderson through mid-wicket and, even then, there was the sense he was just getting started.

Twice Anderson asked for a review, once when the ball was missing leg stump and again after what was revealed to be a no-ball - and it would not have been given out in any case.

As on the second day, the off-side scoring was a feature of Smith's play as he became the first captain for 24 years to score a double hundred in an Ashes Test.

Marsh makes his mark

England toil as Ashes slip away


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