Australia will chase down anything, insists Smith

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Steve Smith has backed Australia to chase down any total South Africa set in the first Test at the WACA.

The hosts surrendered the initiative after bowling out their opponents for 242, as Smith's men slipped from 158-0 to gain a lead of just two runs.

Day three in Perth belonged to the tourists, who built a 388-run advantage with four wickets still in hand, but captain Smith remains confident.

"Obviously we've got to get the wickets first of all in the morning, then if we can keep them out there long enough and tire their two fast bowlers down and be a little more positive against the spin, there's no reason why we can't chase down a total on that," he said.

"It's still a pretty good wicket, it's just going to be about batting some good time. It's a lightning outfield and we saw once you get yourself in it's a great place to bat and we need some big partnerships.

"Anything is going to be chaseable in my mind. Ideally we can come out in the morning and take these wickets quickly and get batting, but yes, I believe anything is chaseable."

It was Dean Elgar and JP Duminy who swung the match firmly in favour of the Proteas on Saturday, the pair forging a 250-run third-wicket partnership.

South Africa will resume on Sunday on 390-6, with Quinton de Kock and Vernon Philander in the middle on 16 and 23 respectively.