Chris Rogers fell for 95, failing to turn a half-century into a hundred for the seventh Test innings in a row as Australia ended the second day of the first Test on 264 for five, 166 behind England.
The tourists, replying to England's 430 all out, also lost David Warner (17), Steve Smith (33), captain Michael Clarke (38) and Adam Voges (31).
Smith and Clarke were coaxed into errors by the spin of Moeen Ali who hit an entertaining 77 as the home team kept the Australian fielders busy for 75 minutes in the morning, adding 87 to their overnight total for the loss of the last three wickets.
The 37-year-old Rogers has been superbly consistent in a run of 50-plus scores that began against India in Brisbane in December but he will kick himself as a century appeared there for the taking.
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He had progressed largely untroubled towards a fourth Ashes hundred when he tried to cut a ball from paceman Mark Wood that was too close to him and nicked it behind to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler, trudging forlornly off the field at Sophia Gardens.
A deserved 100 eluded him but he still joined a select band with a seventh successive knock of 50-plus, matching West Indians Everton Weekes and Shivnarine Chanderpaul, Zimbabwean Andy Flower and Sri Lankan Kumar Sangakkara.
Earlier, Mitchell Starc shook off a sore ankle to finish with five for 114.
Fellow paceman Mitchell Johnson, the scourge of England in their Ashes demolition in Australia last year, conceded 111 runs and went wicketless.
England 430 all out (Root 134, Starc 5-114)
Australia 264-5 (Rodgers 95, Ali 2-67)