Cricket Expert & Columnist
Ashes 2013/14: Steve Smith's century shows he has a lot of 'ticker' about him
Number five is 'going to be in the side for a while' after blunting England's attack...
Last Updated: 16/12/13 6:02pm
Smith, 24, struck an unbeaten 103 after coming to the wicket at 106-3 and then helped rescue Australia from 143-5 by sharing a sixth-wicket stand of 124 with Brad Haddin (55).
The partnership helped the home side to 326-6 at stumps and Warne told Sky Sports that Smith, who scored his maiden ton in the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval this summer, is coming of age.
"What's important is when he's got the runs," said former Australian leg-spinner Warne. "Yes, he's played well and got a hundred but when you look back at player statistics it never says when you got your hundreds and that's the big thing for me.
"Australia were in big trouble so to get a hundred under that sort of pressure and play the way that he did - when your team really needed you - shows that there's a lot of ticker about him.
"He's been through a tough time too; he's been in and out of the side for a while and after today I'm sure he's going to be in the side for a while because he's a good player.
"England have to find a way to knock over the last four wickets of this tail tomorrow and bat big. For them to do that they've got to play the short ball well and rotate the strike.
"There are going to be plenty of boundaries on offer because Australia will pitch the ball up. They've got to really change this momentum because at the moment they don't have any."
England bowling coach David Saker told Sky Sports after the close of play that it was "a disappointing day for all the bowlers", adding that the tourists bowled "a little bit too short".
Warne agreed that England overdid the short stuff, saying: "I played cricket with David Saker for a good 10 years and I could see he was fuming.
"In the first two sessions England bowled 11 balls that would have hit the stumps. I think the eyes started spinning - they had Australia 143-5 and they thought 'here we go, let's give them a bit of short stuff' and suddenly it slipped away from them and England weren't good enough to get back into the game.
"The WACA is so unique. It's the hardest place in the world to get in as a batsman in the first 10-15 minutes of your innings because it is so fast and bouncy. You've been sitting around for a while and you get out and you're trying to find where the ball is.
"England bowled a couple of good short balls at Haddin but they overdid it. You want to see some good short stuff and then some full deliveries on the pitch map but most of England's stuff was all in between."
England made just one change to their starting line-up to the side beaten in Adelaide, retaining spinner Graeme Swann and bringing in all-rounder Tim Bresnan for Monty Panesar.
Swann, who had taken four wickets in the series at an average of 99 before the third Test, captured the wickets of Michael Clarke (24) and David Warner (60) but Warne said that Australia still succeeded in picking the spinner off too easily.
"I thought Swann started really well today," he reflected. "He got the big wicket of Michael Clarke, who is a wonderful player of spin as we've seen.
"That was a big wicket for Swann, who has had a pretty poor tour so far. I thought he bowled with a lot of over-spin and dip.
"But Australia kept going at him and I didn't see Swann try and change too much."
He added: "He kept doing the same thing. I would have liked to have seen him bowl a bit slower or quicker and have control of what he was doing. I would have liked him to rip it a bit more and take a bit more of a risk.
"With the Australians going after him the field all went back and it got easy again as they just knocked around the singles, so it was good manipulation by the batsmen."
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2 from 11.30am. The Ashes Verdict returns to deliver its judgement at 9pm on the same channel. Our coverage of day two of the third Test begins at 2.25am on Saturday morning.