England suffered another devastating collapse to Mitchell Johnson as a manic third day at the Adelaide Oval ended with them under ever more extreme pressure to somehow save the second Test.
Johnson (7-40) revisited his ‘demon bowler’ role, after a match-winning display in Brisbane, to hustle hapless England out for 172 and a mammoth first-innings deficit of 398 - despite fine half-centuries from Ian Bell (72no) and Michael Carberry (60).
Australia’s second innings began with more drama, when James Anderson took two wickets in three balls and the score lurched to four for two.
But there was an academic element to events by then, the hosts able to choose at leisure what notional target to set - and by the close, David Warner (83no) helped them to 132 for three.
After the havoc Johnson wrought at the Gabba, there was no longer even a proper sense of shock as he once more made mincemeat of the tourists with his searing left-arm pace.
This time, aided by reverse-swing, he took three wickets in one over - and was on a hat-trick twice - and England fell apart from 111 for three to 135 for nine.
Bell showed his world class with a defiant 74-ball 50 which he duly celebrated, in company with number 11 Monty Panesar, with two more successive boundaries and then a six over cover in the same Ryan Harris over.
But Johnson returned and needed just two deliveries to bowl Panesar and end a determined last-wicket stand.
Earlier, England still had feasible prospects on the resumption after lunch of making Australia work hard for their wickets.
But Johnson changed all that in the blink of an eye.
Debutant Ben Stokes went lbw for a single after Australia’s DRS review was vindicated.
Matt Prior’s miserable form continued with a four-ball duck, set up by two bouncers and then pushing forward at one angled across him to be caught-behind.
Stuart Broad’s golden duck was a protracted affair, only because he insisted on adjustments to the sightscreen at the Cathedral End involving a man with a ladder to eradicate sun glare.
The handiwork made no difference, because Broad then went across his stumps and was bowled round his legs by another 90mph delivery.
Bell remained, at least, having led a morning counter-attack with Carberry after the early loss of Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen.
But Johnson was in the mood to finish the job, and soon made short work of Graeme Swann and Anderson.
Carberry and Bell had counter-attacked to significant effect for a time.
Bell dictated terms to Nathan Lyon in particular, only for his partner to grind to a halt against the miserly medium-pace of Shane Watson.
The consequence was terminal for Carberry, who spent 21 balls without scoring - with the total stuck on Nelson.
He then middled a pull at the final ball of a third successive maiden from Watson but was brilliantly caught low to his left by a diving Warner at square leg.
Root and Carberry had negotiated Johnson and Harris’ initial spells - but the new number three paid for a faulty, pre-meditated slog-sweep at Lyon to the first ball he faced against the off-spinner on a sunny morning.
After watching Brad Haddin sweep England to shreds on day two, it must have been especially frustrating for the young Yorkshireman to mistime off the upper edge of his cross bat straight to deep square-leg.
Pietersen made a century and a double-century here on the last two tours but this time fell cheaply into a very obvious trap set by Peter Siddle when he whipped a length ball to one of two fielders posted for the catch at midwicket.
Bell was not compromised by the match situation, his second scoring shot the first of his four sixes - over long off up the wicket to Lyon - and then Carberry completed a deserved 115-ball 50.
England’s resistance, however, was to be all too brief once Johnson began charging in again.
He hastened a second innings, in which Anderson got one to hold its line from round the wicket to have Christ Rogers caught-behind and then Watson slapped his second ball straight to point.
A direct hit by Stokes from midwicket would have run Warner out for 10 - but instead the combative opener dominated 50 stands with Michael Clarke, bowled by a beauty from Panesar, and then Steve Smith as Australia augmented their yawning advantage.
Afterwards, a disappointed Bell said: “It was thoroughly disappointing. A very good wicket here and we haven’t given our bowlers any opportunity to get back in the game.
“It’s disappointing, the guys are hurting but I can reassure you they are training and doing everything they possibly can to put this right in the second innings.
“As a group over a number of years, we’ve shown the amount of fight we have in that dressing room.
“We haven’t put it quite right so far on this trip but there’s a lot of guys in there with a lot of cricket still to go in this series that will show people that we have got the fight.
“It starts tomorrow and the last day so we certainly have to fight hard.
“As an England team, we haven’t done anything close to what we’re capable of doing and what we should do for everyone else watching.”