Player of the Match
Player of the Match

Smith, Mitchell Marsh heap pain upon England

Vaughan: Smith has the special skill and hunger of greatness (2:23)

Michael Vaughan and Melinda Farrell talk through the performance of Steven Smith and exactly what it is that makes him so special. (2:23)

Australia 4 for 549 (Smith 229*, M Marsh 181*) lead England 403 by 146 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details

It would be hard to imagine a day of greater Australian dominance than this one. It was a day on which Steven Smith made his second Test double-century, Mitchell Marsh scored his maiden Test hundred, England claimed just a single wicket and Australia piled on 346 runs. A day that began with Australia trailing by 200 finished with them 146 runs in front, and with a realistic chance of pushing for victory - and the urn - over the next two days. Remind us why Australia would want to move Ashes Tests away from the WACA?

But a caveat is necessary, for it was not a day that necessarily ended England's campaign. The pitch remains good for batting - that is stating the obvious - and there is rain forecast over the next two days in Perth. It remains very possible that England will escape from this match with a draw, and as the holders of the Ashes, that would keep them alive in the series. Alive, but demoralised. They might have known that Smith could score a mountain of runs, but Mitchell Marsh eyeing off a Test double-century by stumps? They'd have been more likely to expect the Spanish Inquisition.

This was a day that can best be illustrated by the numbers, and at the close of play, the numbers were these: Smith was on 229, Marsh was on 181, and Australia had 4 for 549. Hundreds were also piling up in England's bowling analysis: Craig Overton, Chris Woakes, Stuart Broad and Moeen Ali had all conceded centuries by the close of play, and if James Anderson - currently at 0 for 85 - joins them on the fourth day, it will be just the eighth time in Test history that a team has had five or more bowlers concede 100 in the same innings.

Some more numbers: by stumps, the Smith-Marsh partnership was worth 301 runs, the most prolific partnership Smith has ever been involved in at Test level. And Marsh's score was already the sixth-highest of all time by an Australian No.6. Along the way, Smith passed 1000 runs in a calendar year for the fourth consecutive year, joining Matthew Hayden as the only men to achieve this feat, and Smith has done so averaging 60-plus in every year.

The day had started in vaguely reasonable style for England, when they claimed the wicket of Shaun Marsh, who edged Moeen to slip for 28. It was the only reason England had to celebrate all day. Reasons for optimism were rare: occasionally Smith edged, but his soft hands always ensured the ball dropped short of the slips, and an lbw review from England against Smith found that Anderson had over-stepped, although in any case the umpire's on-field call of not-out would have been upheld by the ball tracking.

No matter what Joe Root tried, it failed. In the morning, Smith brought up the fastest century of his Test career, a 138-ball effort that showed just as much ability to read the circumstances as had his slowest Test hundred, scored at the Gabba earlier in this series. He continued to be strong when cover-driving, when walking across the stumps and whipping to leg, and frankly playing wherever he wanted to.

Marsh was especially powerful driving straight down the ground and through the off side, and also found the gaps when cutting. He let out a roar after bringing up his home-town hundred in the final over before tea, with a pair of boundaries through point off Broad, the milestone coming from his 130th delivery. His efforts had continued a fine summer of selections from the Australian panel, who have found excellent contributions from Shaun Marsh, Tim Paine and now Mitchell Marsh, three selections that sparked much debate.

And still the runs kept piling up. Late in the day, Smith moved past his previous highest Test score of 215, and had been at the crease for nearly 10 hours. He was just the fifth Australia captain to score an Ashes double-century, after Billy Murdoch, Don Bradman, Bob Simpson and Allan Border.

Marsh by the close was eyeing off a double-century, a sentence which on its own tells all that need be told about this day. The result was that England were sunk, if not in the series, then at least in their hopes of winning this Test.

Comprehensive series wins


Number of times an Ashes series of 5+ Tests has been decided by the third Test. 9 of those have been wins for Australia; England's only such win was in 1928-29

WACA dominance


Number of successive Test wins for Aus v Eng at the WACA, starting 1991. The last time they didn't win was in 1986, when the Test was drawn

Malan's WACA feat


England batsmen who have passed 50 in each innings in a WACA Test. The others, apart from Malan, are Pietersen (2006), Randall (1982), and Boycott (1970)

Lyon bosses Moeen


Number of times Nathan Lyon has dismissed Moeen Ali in this series. Moeen has scored 68 from 169 balls off him, for an average of 13.60

Bowler centuries


England bowlers who conceded 100 or more runs in Australia's 1st innings, only the eighth such instance in Test history, and the third for England

Top Scores for Aus in Aus


Runs made by Australia in this Test - Third highest score for Australia at home. The highest was 735 for 6 in 2003 also at Perth

Captain's knock


Runs scored by Steven Smith - Third highest score for a captain from Australia in an Ashes Test behind Bob Simpson and Don Bradman.

Mr Consistent


Consecutive years in which Smith has scored more than 1000 runs- Second cricketer to achieve this behind Mathew Hayden who did it five times between 2001-05.

Centurion Smith


Innings in which Steven Smith scored 22 Test centuries - Third quickest to this feat behind Don Bradman(58 innings) and Sunil Gavaskar(101 innings).

Warner at WACA


Centuries for Warner at the WACA . Before this innings he averaged 89.22 at this ground - Highest for Warner at a venue in Australia.

Double Trouble


Last instance of a 200 run partnership for the fifth wicket for England against Australia. Compton and Paynter added 206 in Nottingham.

Strong Day 1 performance


Runs scored by England on Day 1 of A test in Australia - Highest since 2002 when they made 295 for 4 in Adelaide.

Maiden century


Century for David Malan in Tests. This is the first century for England in Australia since the 120 made by Ben Stokes at Perth in 2013.

Long time coming


Last instance of England adding more than 100 runs for the fifth wicket in Australia. Pietersen and Bell added 116 in Adelaide.