After Justin Langer was bowled for a golden duck by Matthew Hoggard off the very first ball of the second innings, Matthew Hayden and captain Ricky Ponting knuckled down to both be unbeaten on 57 at stumps.
Earlier, England capitulated 29 runs behind Australia's first innings total of 244, with opener Andrew Strauss on the end of another dubious umpiring decision which started the collapse.
Second Test double-centurion Paul Collingwood was the first to go when he was well caught by Hayden in the gully off the bowling of Glenn McGrath in the third over of the day for 11.
Kevin Pietersen then came to the crease, and he and Strauss looked like putting together a useful partnership before Stuart Clarke had the England opener given out caught behind for a well made 42.
Clark, who bowled with his usual excellent line and length, deserved a wicket, however Strauss did not deserve the bad luck of a questionable call by umpire Rudi Koertzen, especially after a similarly unlucky dismissal in the second Test.
England's batsmen collapse again
Just like the last day in Adelaide, Strauss' dismissal triggered an England batting collapse, as Pietersen watched Andrew Flintoff (13), Geraint Jones (0), Sajid Mahmood (10), and Matthew Hoggard (4), all disappear for the addition of just 73 runs.
|England's batsman Kevin Pietersen during his|
innings of 70 runs
26 year-old Pietersen was the shining light for England as he utilised his aggressive nature and took to the Aussie bowlers, sending the ball to all parts of the ground, and on one occasion into the WACA crowd.
Pietersen struck 15 off one Shane Warne over, which also included being dropped on the boundary by Glenn McGrath when on 59.
The South African-born batsman was eventually caught out slogging by Andrew Symonds off the bowling of Brett Lee for 70 as he tried to accelerate the scoring before running out of partners.
England’s tenth wicket partnership between Stephen Harmison and Monty Panesar yielded a very handy 40 runs at the end of the innings as the tourists tried to minimise Australia’s first innings lead.
The bowling duo, who contributed a combined nine wickets to help dismiss Australia in the first innings, showed some great talent with the bat, perhaps sending a message to the more recognised England batsmen.
With Hayden and Ponting to resume on day three, Australia will look to build a huge total to give England a big run chase to save the Ashes.
It will be up to the England bowling attack to make inroads early, lest the Aussies get away with a 3-0 series win and the coveted Ashes urn.