Perth Test: Australia wrestles back initiative from England

ANI | Updated: Dec 15, 2017 17:18 IST

Perth [Australia], Dec 15 (ANI): Skipper Steve Smith and first drop Usman Khawaja smashed scorching half-centuries as Australia mounted a strong fight back against England at stumps of Day Two of the third Ashes Test here at the WACA Ground on Thursday.

At stumps, Australia were at 203 for three, trailing by 200 runs after dismissing England for 403 in first innings.

The hosts had an unexpected start to their innings as they lost both their openers David Warner (22) and Cameron Bancroft (25) in quick succession.

However, Smith once again proved a major stumbling block as he not only closes in on his 22nd ton with his 92-run knock, but also shared a crucial 124-run stand for the third wicket with Khawaja (50).

The Australian skipper was rarely troubled by the England bowlers as he faced just 122 balls and struck 14 fours and one six.

For England, Chris Overton was the only bowler to provide his side with some hope as he finished the day at two for 46.

Earlier, resuming at yesterday's score of 305-4, England looked all set to post a massive score with Dawid Malan (140) and Jonny Bairstow (119) seemingly in total control.

However, they lost six wickets for just 35 runs in a stunning collapse prior to the lunch.

For Australia, Mitchell Starc was a pick of the bowlers as he bagged four wickets while Josh Hazlewood and Pat Cummins took three and two wickets, respectively.

Nathan Lyon also chipped in with a wicket.

Australia are currently leading the five-match Ashes series 2-0 against England. They will regain the coveted urn if they win any of the final three remaining matches. (ANI)