With this shot to the leg-side, Australian captain Steve Smith became the second-fastest batsmen to 6 000 Test runs, behind Don Bradman. Photo: David Moir/EPA

SYDNEY – Steve Smith racked up another milestone as he continued to torment England and Usman Khawaja neared a century to put Australia in a strong position after day two of the final Ashes Test in Sydney on Friday.

The Australian skipper became the second fastest batsman to reach 6 000 Test runs in his 111th innings, second only to the legendary Don Bradman.

Smith, with three centuries in this five-match series, has been the bane of the England team and was potentially heading towards another ton.

At the close, Smith was on 44 with Khawaja reaching his highest score of the series on 91 in Australia’s 193/2 in reply to England’s 346 first innings.

So far in the series, Smith has scored 648 runs at 162.

The pair shared in a 107-run partnership after the loss of openers Cameron Bancroft and David Warner.

Khawaja raised his third 50 of the series with a six down the ground off Moeen Ali.

Debutant Mason Crane, the youngest specialist spinner at 20 to play for England in 90 years, troubled Smith and Khawaja with his wrist spin, enticing some edges and false shots to finish with 0/58 off 17 overs.   

Warner reached his fourth half-century of the series before James Anderson coaxed an edge to wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow for 56 after Bancroft was bowled by Stuart Broad for a seven-ball duck.

England’s maligned tail earlier piled on runs before the tourists were bowled out at lunch.

Newcomer Tom Curran smacked 39 off 65 balls, Moeen Ali hit 30 and Broad clubbed two sixes in his 31 off 32 balls as England lashed out late in the extended morning session.

Smith pulled off a stunning one-handed catch to dismiss Dawid Malan for 62, but the Australians were guilty of two embarrassing dropped catches to give England a helping hand.