Jimmy Anderson has taken three wickets as part of a dominant England bowling display which left Australia in trouble on 164-9 at stumps on the second day of the fourth Ashes Test.
After Mitchell Johnson completed a five-wicket haul to help dismiss England for 255 early in the day and seemingly give the hosts the upper hand at the Melbourne Cricket Ground on Friday.
Australia's top and middle order gave up their wickets cheaply, with Anderson (3-50) dismissing David Warner, Michael Clarke and George Bailey in a disciplined bowling display that offered few scoring chances.
"We'd have liked a few more runs," Anderson said.
"But then having spoken to our batters last night we knew we could make it difficult for them to score because it's quite a slow pitch. If we set the right fields and bowled in the right areas we could get some rewards - and we did that."
Chris Rogers scored a dogged 61 to anchor much of the innings and Brad Haddin provided some aggressive late stroke play, but Australia made just 68 runs at the expense of four wickets in the third session.
Peter Siddle was dismissed for a duck with the last ball of the day leaving Haddin unbeaten on 43 and Australia trailing by 91 runs.
England first innings 226-6
Australia first innings
David Warner c Bairstow b Anderson 9
Chris Rogers c pietersen b Bresnan 61
Shane Watson c Bairstow b Stokes 10
Michael Clarke b Anderson 10
Steve Smith c Bell b Broad 19
George Bailey c Bairstow b Anderson 0
Brad Haddin not out 43
Mitchell Johnson c Anderson b Bresnan 2
Ryan Harris c Root b Broad 6
Peter Siddle c Bresnan b Broad 0
Extras: (4lb) 4
TOTAL: (for 9 wickets) 164
Fall of wickets: 1-19, 2-36, 3-62, 4-100, 5-112, 6-122, 7-151, 8-162,
Still to bat: Nathan Lyon.
After an aggressive start, Warner was out for 9 when he got a top edge while attempting to flick the ball down the leg side, giving Jonny Bairstow his first test catch as wicketkeeper.
Shane Watson offered a thin inside edge off Ben Stokes to Bairstow shortly before lunch to take the gloss of Australia's dominant morning.
Anderson dismissed Clarke in the only wicket of the middle session and a prolonged spell of miserly bowling paid off for England after tea when Steven Smith was tempted by Stuart Broad's wideish delivery and edged the ball to Ian Bell at second slip.
Rogers fell shortly after when he attempted a rare attacking stroke and sliced a Tim Bresnan ball to Kevin Pietersen at mid-off.
George Bailey played cautiously through 19 balls without score before being given out caught behind for a duck off Anderson after a decision review was upheld by the TV umpire, even though the available vision and Hot Spot technology showed no contact between bat and ball.
Haddin immediately altered the tempo of the batting on coming to the crease, aggressively chasing runs and he looked set to form another of his series-long lucrative partnerships with Johnson before the latter holed out to Anderson at mid wicket off Bresnan.
That dismissal meant England paid no great price for Anderson dropping a simple chance from Johnson four overs earlier.
Ryan Harris made 6 before being caught by Joe Root off Broad.
Earlier, Johnson - who took two wickets late on day one with the new ball - claimed immediate success on day two, dismissing Bresnan (1) with the first delivery of the morning's second over and bowling Pietersen for 71 four balls later.
Pietersen, who played an uncharacteristically watchful knock to anchor the England innings on Thursday, showed a change of intent by smashing a four off the first ball of the second day.
His more expansive style of play proved his undoing when he attempted a big swing, only to have his stumps scattered by a scything Johnson delivery.