PERTH, Australia – A dominating display from Australia’s captain Steve Smith, coupled with an English batting collapse, allowed the Aussies to fight back on Friday at the WACA Stadium in Perth, and end the second day of the Ashes Third Test at 203 for a loss of just three wickets, trailing England by 200 runs.
England resumed in the morning at 305/4, with Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow continuing to pile on the runs until Malan fell for 140, leading to a loss of six wickets for 35 runs.
England was all out for 403 at lunch.
Bairstow’s 119, together with Malan’s century, added up to 257 runs, a record fifth wicket partnership for England in the Ashes.
After lunch, Australia’s David Warner and Cameron Bancroft got off to a smooth start, before a young Craig Overton took both their wickets with his probing lengths, leaving the home team reeling at 55/2.
Out came an in-form Steve Smith, who immediately launched a counterattack to lead his team to 88/2 at tea.
Smith finished the day unbeaten at 92 off just 122 deliveries, in a partnership with Usman Khawaja, who quietly scooped up a half century before he was trapped lbw by Chris Woakes in the last hour of play.
England will need to get Smith off the field early on Saturday and gain a crucial first innings lead if they are to get back into the five-match contest, which the hosts currently lead 2-0.