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Steve Smith stands tall in pressure

By AAP .
14 December 2013 02:44AM EST

STEVE Smith scored his first century on home soil as England's bowlers lost the plot in the third Ashes Test on Friday.

England bowling coach David Saker admits the tourists had pitched too short on the bouncy WACA pitch and Australia say they're determined to avoid the same mistake.

Australia chose to bat in heatwave conditions and recovered from 5-143 to reach 6-326 at stumps.

Smith is unbeaten on 103, his second hundred and first in a "live" Test after his 138 not out at The Oval in August.

The 24-year-old Smith has struck 13 fours and two sixes off 191 balls and says the Aussies are aiming to get up around the 450-mark before learning from England's errors.

Smith said the pitch had tennis-ball bounce early on but quickened up.

"I'm sure our bowlers are going to enjoy bowling on there and, if they hit the right lengths, they're going to create chances," Smith said.

"They might have bowled a little bit short in patches. When we come out and bowl, we're going to be a yard fuller than what they are and hopefully that'll create chances for us."

Brad Haddin continued his brilliant series with the bat with a valuable hand of 55 in a 124-run partnership with Smith for the sixth wicket.

Haddin was caught at midwicket at 6-267 after poor shot selection from Australia's top order had put the home side in a sticky situation.

After choosing to bat first with temperatures in the high 30s, Australia struggled to 3-107 at lunch.

Chris Rogers (11), Shane Watson (18) and Michael Clarke (24) fell in the opening session.

Clarke was named as the ICC Cricketer of the Year, adding to the sense of occasion in his 100th Test. But his failure with the bat was a bitter blow in such a crucial match.

Swann struck again with the score on 129 when David Warner (60) played a cut shot to backward point.

Stuart Broad peppered George Bailey (seven) with three consecutive bouncers, the third of which was top-edged to deep backward square leg in another lame dismissal.

For Bailey - averaging 24.25 in the series - it was an embarrassing defeat. The right-hander can expect more bouncers in the second innings.

Haddin, like Bailey, was out hooking.

Mitchell Johnson (39 not out) and Smith have shared a 59-run partnership.

"It's probably right up there for me in my career," said Smith, who made 60 at an average of 20 in the first two Tests.

"I was under a little bit of pressure coming into this game having not scored many runs and I guess the position of the game as well.

"From ball one today, I felt pretty good and I think I summed up the conditions pretty well."

Smith had been working on leaving balls on length and stuck to the task well.

English media reported the fielding side chirped to Smith that he was one more low score away from being dropped, but Smith said he didn't recall being sledged during his innings.

Saker says England let things slip after taking early wickets.

"And probably not for the first time this series. We had them on the ropes and we didn't finish the job," he said.

"We mixed our lengths and went to the short ball probably too much."

Australia lead the five-match series two-nil.

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