This Ashes series remains a tale of two captains, with Joe Root's daydreaming and Steve Smith's dominance helping Australia steady on day two of the third Test.
England posted a first-innings total of 403. A record-breaking partnership of 237 runs between centurions Dawid Malan and Jonny Bairstow was followed by a collapse of 35-6. Australia were 203-3 in response at stumps, trailing by 200 runs. Smith will resume on 92, eyeing his second century of the series.
England are sweating on the fitness of Craig Overton, having trudged off in much discomfort after bowling his 10th over.
The tourists were buoyed by the late lbw dismissal of Usman Khawaja for 50, then deflated by their third dropped catch of the day, which handed Shaun Marsh a life on seven.
Short leg Mark Stoneman and keeper Bairstow made a meal of a chance that one of them could easily have snared.
Smith strolled to the crease at 55-2 after both openers fell victim to Overton. The classy right-hander was a batsman inspired - even by his lofty standards.
The fidgeting genius dispatched his third ball through the covers for four and continued to attack anything that was overpitched. He passed 50 in 58 deliveries.
Smith was sensible, leaving good balls and rotating the strike, while Khawaja struggled to score freely.
Smith was superb with his timing, helping a Stuart Broad bouncer over fine leg for six and delighting in the veteran's look of disbelief.
Smith was stoic when struck with the final delivery before tea, wearing a rearing ball from Overton on the gloves and grille then attentively ensuring it didn't dislodge the bails. Root, having failed with the bat on day one, successfully referred a lbw shout to dismiss Cameron Bancroft but otherwise had a substandard day in the field.
The visiting captain bizarrely failed to pick up a thick edge that Khawaja offered on 28 at 125-2; the ball careered through the slips cordon as Root moved the wrong way then haphazardly flung his arm out.
Root was also criticised by commentators for his bowling changes and field placings, especially the fact that Smith was on 47 when he faced Jimmy Anderson for the first time in the match.
Khawaja also went close to falling to Overton for a duck, with the paceman throwing himself to the left and almost reeling in a stunning one-handed return catch.
Earlier, Malan (140) and Bairstow (119) produced England's highest fifth-wicket partnership in a Test against Australia.