England claimed a 51-run advantage on the first innings despite Australia's wagging tail on day three of the fourth Ashes Test at the MCG.
Australia were bowled out on Saturday morning for 204 after resuming on 9-164 in reply to England's first innings of 255.
Wicketkeeper/batsman Brad Haddin top-scored with a gusty knock of 65 and added 40 valuable runs for the last wicket with Nathan Lyon who was unbeaten on 18.
Haddin notched his fourth half-century of the series, alongside his hundred in the second Test in Adelaide.
The stand between Haddin and Lyon was the second-highest of Australia's miserable innings.
England captain Alastair Cook had put seven fielders on the boundary rope for Haddin in a bid to get No.11 Lyon back on strike.
However the pair frustrated the tourists, batting on for an extra 43 minutes on Saturday.
Haddin's rescue mission, which included seven fours and a six off 68 balls, is a familiar performance in this series. The side's average first-innings total at the loss of their fifth wicket in this series is 153.
Opener Chris Rogers played a determined knock of 61 and was the only batsman in Australia's top six to reach 20.
Rogers said the pitch was two-paced and the Australians had simply not shown enough patience, falling victim to a series of careless shots.
"England are on top. I think we've had our worst day of the series," Rogers said on Friday night after the second day's play.
Rogers, who was treated for a head wound on 16, batted for over three-and-a-half hours.
"The helmet did its job this time," Rogers grinned.
"It was a bit of a scare but it's okay."
Jimmy Anderson, who admitted to being frustrated at a lack of swing movement on this tour, returned to form with 4-67 including removing Haddin caught behind, while pace spearhead Stuart Broad took 3-45.
At lunch England was 54-0 in its second innings, with a lead of 105 over the victorious Australians.
Should the NZ selectors pick Jesse Ryder if he's available?