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Smith blunts England attack
Steve Smith celebrates his ton at the WACA Ground.

Centurion Steve Smith and Mitchell Johnson have combined for a 54-run partnership to give Australia the advantage at stumps on day one of the third Ashes Test.

Smith came to the crease shortly before lunch, after the England attack snared three crucial wickets early in the day and batted brilliantly to lead Australia to 6-326 at stumps.

At one stage Australia was 5-143 and England tails were up despite the oppressive heat.

His knock of 103 not out and a 124-run partnership with form wicketkeeper Brad Haddin (55) rescued the side from an early exit.

Johnson's unbeaten 39 helped extend the advantage late in the day.

Australia won the toss and skipper Michael Clarke elected to bat on a pitch which looked to be offering plenty for the bowlers.

Dave Warner was the pick of the batsmen early before coming undone at 60 against the spin of Graeme Swann, who claimed two crucial wickets in the first two sessions.

Warner and fellow opener Chris Rogers looked solid early before the 36-year-old decided to push for an unlikely single while sitting on 11 runs.

A direct hit from James Anderson, who played a starring role in the field, had the former WA batsman out cheaply.

Shane Watson (12) was the next to fall, caught by Swann off Stuart Broad and Clarke (24) was gone soon after courtesy of an ill-conceived shot in Swann's first over.

England players happier early in the day with wicket of George Bailey.

Smith and Haddin seemed in complete control before Ben Stokes made the breakthrough late in the day, removing the wicketkeeper for 55.

They home side went into the match with an unchanged line-up, while England have returned to their first-choice pace attack with Tim Bresnan finally returning to the first XI.

Spinner Monty Panesar, who played in Adelaide, has been overlooked.