Ton-up Steve Smith frustrates England

Steve SmithSteve Smith (L) celebrates reaching his century as England's Ben Stokes looks on during the first day of the third Ashes Test (Reuters)

Australia's Steve Smith scored a brilliant century to help wrest control of the third Ashes Test back from a revitalised England on a sweltering opening day at the WACA on Friday.

The hosts, who will recapture the urn with victory in Perth after winning the first two Tests in the series, looked in real trouble with the dismissal of George Bailey before tea reduced them to 143 for five.

Smith and wicketkeeper Brad Haddin, however, combined to put on 124 for the sixth wicket with circumspect, and on occasion aggressive, innings that contrasted sharply with the cavalier earlier efforts of some of their team mates.

They were separated when Haddin, who has scored half centuries in all four of his innings in the series, spooned the ball to James Anderson at midwicket off the bowling of Ben Stokes for 55 an hour before the close of play.

Smith continued to reach his second Test century and will resume on Saturday on 103 not out with Mitchell Johnson, unbeaten on 39, alongside him.

After losing the toss for a third straight match and the chance to bat on what looked like an excellent surface, England responded to their do-or-die situation with their sharpest display in the series to date.

Australia's batsmen looked intent on piling on the runs as quickly as possible - they were scoring at five an over at one stage - but also contributed to their own demise with some rash strokes.

David Warner's attempted cut only to be caught at point for 60 would contend for the softest dismissal of the day but Bailey (seven) also came close to claiming the honours with an attempted hook that saw him hole out on the boundary.

Captain Michael Clarke (24) will also be disappointed with the shot that led to his departure just before lunch, a wicket which followed the run out of opener Chris Rogers (11) and dismissal of Shane Watson (18) in the first hour.

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