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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 23 June 2018

Steve Smith warns England that Australia are yet to hit peak form ahead of third Ashes Test

The Australia captain admits he is hoping for a fast wicket in Perth to suit his team as they look to build on winning first two Tests.

Steve Smith is confident of Australia's prospects of wrapping up the Ashes series in Perth in the third Test. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images
Steve Smith is confident of Australia's prospects of wrapping up the Ashes series in Perth in the third Test. Ryan Pierse / Getty Images

Australia captain Steve Smith has warned England his Ashes hosts have yet to play to their full potential this winter - despite taking a 2-0 lead to put themselves on course for series victory in Perth.

Smith's men are two up with three to play, leaving England in the WACA's last-chance saloon in the final Ashes Test scheduled to take place at venue where the tourists have won just once in almost 50 years.

With England embattled too by the off-field dramas which have resulted in a string of unfortunate controversies, many are already predicting Australia are about to inflict another 5-0 whitewash defeat - as they did in two of the previous three Ashes series down under.

Smith said: "I wouldn't say we've played our best just yet.

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"We've shown glimpses at times - (but) I thought we were pretty poor in the second innings last week with the bat.

"So I think we've got a bit of improving to do - which is always nice, when you're still winning games of cricket."

Only in 1978, when Australia were drastically weakened by the call of World Series Cricket on their best players, have England prevailed in Perth.

Smith added: "I hope we can start this game well, and put England under a little bit of pressure.

"If we could win this game, certainly it would take the wind out of their sails a little bit, and the series is dead and buried."

As for England's problems away from the pitch, he declined to make any further capital at this stage.

"It doesn't bother us - it's nothing to do with us," he said.

"They can have all the trouble they like ... it's irrelevant for us.

"The message to the boys is to make sure they're not complacent.

"We're in a good position, playing at a ground we've had a lot of success at - and I hope we can wrap up the series (here).

"They're only a couple of bad sessions from the series going away from them, so it'd be nice to get those sessions out of the way."

It is likely to favour the hosts if the WACA serves up one of the really quick pitches for which it was once world famous, and Smith confirmed that is on his wish-list.

"I hope the groundsman can get that wicket nice and hard and fast and bouncy - to suit our big quicks, and our batters as well.

"For the last couple of years, it's been a little bit slow - hasn't had the traditional Perth carry and pace of old, so we hope we can get that back.

"We've always loved playing here, so it would be nice to end things on a really good note."