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Perth (Australia) (AFP) - A vital century by Steve Smith put Australia in a strong position and frustrated England in the third Ashes Test after they had threatened to bowl the hosts out cheaply on Friday. Australia's fragile top order again stuttered as the hosts slumped to 143-5 on the first day, before Smith came to the rescue with his second Test ton in what could be the series decider. At stumps Australia were 326-6 with Smith unbeaten on 103 and Mitchell Johnson on 39, further loosening England's grip on the trophy at 2-0 down and three to play. Australia lead the five-Test series after big wins in Brisbane and Adelaide, and can secure the Ashes with victory in Perth.