Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin produced a record stand as England suffered on day three of the first Ashes Test.
Hussey (195) and Haddin (136) put on 307, a record for Tests at the Gabba, before England finally ended their mammoth sixth-wicket stand after tea.
The tourists had toiled for much of the day after early misfortune but Steven Finn took 6-125 on his Ashes debut to finally dismiss Australia for 481.
England then reached 19-0 in their second innings, still trailing by 202.
It was an encouraging return for Finn, the 21-year-old gentle giant of England's attack, but four of those wickets came long after Australia had put themselves in a position from which they will expect to win the match.
England's batsmen will have to produce something extra special over the final two days in Brisbane to avoid defeat, and captain Andrew Strauss, on a pair after a first-innings duck, almost fell first ball when shouldering arms to Ben Hilfenhaus.
Ricky Ponting called for a review when umpire Aleem Dar rejected the lbw appeal, but to the relief of the shell-shocked England fans replays showed the ball would have passed narrowly over the stumps.
Alastair Cook also survived an lbw shout, from Australia's day one hero Peter Siddle, and England will hope batting on Sunday is an easier prospect against the older ball.
The day revolved around Hussey and Haddin, who joined forces before tea on day two, with Australia on 143-5 and having lost four wickets in a 90-minute period.
At that point England's first innings 260 looked adequate, and they even looked a decent bet to hold a narrow lead in what was poised to be a low-scoring contest.
But, having already eased Australia's worries by taking the score to 220-5 by the end of Friday, the duo produced an exhibition of fine batsmanship allied to supreme concentration to produce the highest partnership in a Gabba Test match.
It was also the fifth best for the sixth wicket in any Test, clocking in 39 runs behind Don Bradman and Jack Fingleton at Melbourne in 1937.
There was one significant hurdle they had to overcome in the morning: the second new ball which was available - and taken - straight away at the earlier local start time of 0930.
With limited support from the inconsistent Stuart Broad and Finn, who was flattered by his final figures, James Anderson bowled brilliantly at Hussey but without a shred of luck.
In the third over, the left-hander was given out lbw by umpire Dar, but Hussey was quick to call for the review and was reprieved.
Four overs later, Hussey, scoring slowly and feeling his way as Anderson found a perfect length and late swing, was trapped plum in front. But this time Dar gave him not out, on 85, perhaps detecting an edge on to the pads.
England had used up their two reviews on the second day, so could not get the decision overturned, and the frustration continued as a series of Anderson deliveries snaked past Hussey's outside edge or narrowly avoided the stumps.
Haddin was not secure either, but began to up the tempo with some boundaries off Finn, and when Anderson came off after eight overs and the ball became softer the second half of the morning session was infinitely easier for the batsmen.
On a placid wicket, England were further inconvenienced when Broad was forced to leave the field for a long spell, apparently suffering from blisters - though he did later return.
Meanwhile, up came the hundred partnership, and Haddin's smashed cut off Finn took Australia into the lead before the wicketkeeper picked up his half-century off the Middlesex man's next ball.
Hussey's cover-drive for four off Broad gave the Western Australia man his 12th Test hundred, celebrated with an unbridled outpouring of emotion.
But England spurned an opportunity when Haddin, on 63, survived the first of two dropped chances, Cook spilling a tough one at mid-off off Paul Collingwood.
Australia were 329-5 at lunch, and Hussey and Haddin continued to torment England's bowlers.
With the stand already worth an ominous 200, Haddin took a liking to an out-of-sorts Graeme Swann, smashing the highly rated spinner over the top for a six to bring up his third Test century.
Haddin's party should have come to an end on 113, but Anderson spilled a fairly straightforward offering at wide mid-on off Broad, while at the other end Hussey maintained tremendous composure to cruise past 150, with Australia leading by 170.
Just as it looked they might bat all day, the two batsmen fell within four overs of each other.
Haddin was brilliantly caught by Collingwood diving to his right at slip off Swann, and Hussey, who had pulled Finn to shreds during his brilliant eight-and-a-quarter hour innings, was ironically caught playing that exact shot.
Finn's short-pitched ball seemed destined for the boundary yet again, but this time the thick top-edge looped straight to Cook at deep square-leg.
Finn made short work of the tail, as Mitchell Johnson was bowled off his pads and extra bounce did for Siddle and Xavier Doherty. His efforts ensured there was no need for Ponting to consider a declaration, and England were left with 15 tricky overs to negotiate.
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