Clarke, leading an unchanged side, won the toss for the third straight match and had no hesitation in deciding to bat first in a Test where victory would see his team recapture the coveted urn.
Australia looked well on course for a good shot at that victory despite the early losses of opener Chris Rogers, run out for 11, and Shane Watson, caught in the slips for 18, inside the first hour.
David Warner, who reached the break at 49 not out, had put together a 50-run partnership with his captain when Graeme Swann came on for his first over five minutes before lunch.
Clarke came down the wicket to attack the spinner's second delivery only to steer the ball to midwicket where England captain Alastair Cook got down low to take a fine catch and send his counterpart back to the dressing room for 24.
Warner, playing on the ground where he scored his Test best innings of 180 against India two years ago, might have been expected to take the game to the English bowlers but initially it had been Rogers who showed more attacking intent.
The 36-year-old hit successive fours off Stuart Broad in the third over but his decision to take a single off the next ball proved fatal to his innings as James Anderson's direct hit found him well short of the crease.
Watson, under pressure after failing to shine with the bat in the Brisbane and Adelaide victories, had the perfect opportunity to put together a good score on what looked like an excellent batting surface.
Broad switched ends, though, and from the third ball of his fourth over induced the all-rounder into an attempted drive that took a thick edge and was well caught over his head by Swann in the slips.
Warner continued to score apace at the other end and Clarke, who like Cook is playing his 100th Test, found his feet before joining his fellow Sydneysider in plundering the runs.
With the temperatures climbing towards 40 degrees Celsius in the blinding Perth sunshine, the tourists desperately needed another breakthrough before lunch.
Seamer Tim Bresnan, recalled in the only change to the England team from the Adelaide drubbing, had a chance to dismiss Warner caught and bowled but could not cling on to a ball moving at some pace.
Warner made the most of the reprieve in the same over, smacking Bresnan for a four and a huge six over long-on to bring up the 100 for Australia and the 50 partnership with Clarke.