Glenn McGrath marked his return to Test cricket by making key contributions with bat and ball to plunge England into trouble in the opening Ashes Test.
The 36-year-old seamer, playing his first Test since January having taken time out to care for his ill wife Jane, ensured Australia finished the second day at the Gabba firmly in control.
McGrath firstly made an important contribution with the bat by scoring an unbeaten eight and helping Brett Lee forge a 24-run unbroken last-wicket stand which enabled Australia to declare on an imposing 602 for nine.
Then he excelled with the ball by dismissing both England openers as the tourists slipped to 53 for three by the close, leaving them adrift and needing a further 350 runs to avoid the follow on.
Andrew Strauss had progressed to 12 when he attempted to pull a ball from outside off stump in McGrath's third over and found the safe hands of Mike Hussey at backward square, who trod on the advancing Brett Lee's left knee to take the catch.
Having crossed while the ball was in the air, McGrath then dismissed left-hander Alastair Cook after coming around the wicket and squaring up the Essex batsman who edged to Shane Warne at first slip.
England's start to their innings had continued another frustrating day when Australia's lower order had added useful runs to undermine an epic fast-bowling display from captain Andrew Flintoff.
Australia's last three wickets added 102 runs to help them reach their highest score against England on home soil since 1946-7 after Ricky Ponting had progressed from his overnight 137 to hit 196 and Michael Clarke contributed a useful 56.
But it was the lower order which really frustrated England with Stuart Clark, playing his first home Test match, hammering 39 off only 23 balls including successive sixes off James Anderson while Brett Lee finished unbeaten on 43.
Flintoff once again provided England's main threat and finished with an impressive four for 99 after running in for 30 overs in his first Test since undergoing an ankle operation mid-way through last summer.
England, though, may have been equally pleased with seam trio Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison and James Anderson all claiming their first wickets of the Test after a frustrating first day dominated by Australia.
The England captain had been the main threat during the morning session and made the breakthrough in the 19th over of the day after choosing to go around the wicket to left-hander Hussey, who pushed forward defensively but failed to anticipate the in-swing and lost his off-stump.
Hussey had contributed a superb 86 to the 209-run stand with Ponting, the highest fourth-wicket partnership ever at the Gabba after eclipsing the 198 forged by West Indian pair Lawrence Rowe and Alvin Kallicharran in 1975-6.
But it was another 18 overs before England struck again with Hoggard, swinging the ball for nearly the first time in the match, ending Ponting's brilliant 196 which spanned nearly eight hours at the crease.
Ponting, who hit 18 fours during his innings, walked across his stumps to try to whip Hoggard through mid-wicket but instead was rapped on the pads and umpire Steve Bucknor upheld the appeal.
Three balls later Hoggard claimed his second wicket of the innings when he went around the wicket and Bucknor generously upheld England's appeal after Adam Gilchrist was also hit on the pads.
Warne, dropped on two by Anderson at mid-on, helped Clarke add a further 29 runs before Harmison finally struck for his long-awaited first wicket to strangle Australia's leg-spinner down the leg side as he tried to hook.
But Australia's lower order continued to frustrate England and with McGrath proving just as effective with the ball, they face a major effort to save the Test.
Scoreboard at stumps Friday after the second day of the first Ashes cricket test between Australia and England at the Gabba ground in Brisbane:
Australia, 1st Innings, (Overnight: 346-3)
Justin Langer c Pietersen b Flintoff 82
Matt Hayden c Collingwood b Flintoff 21
Ricky Ponting lbw b Hoggard 196
Damien Martyn c Collingwood b Giles 29
Michael Hussey b Flintoff 86
Michael Clarke c Strauss b Anderson 56
Adam Gilchrist lbw b Hoggard 0
Shane Warne c Jones b Harmison 17
Brett Lee not out 43
Stuart Clark b Flintoff 39
Glenn McGrath not out 8
Extras: (2b,8lb,8w,7nb) 25
TOTAL: (for nine wickets, dec.) 602.
Overs: 155. Batting time: 690 minutes.
Fall of wickets: 1-79, 2-141, 3-198, 4-407, 5-467, 6-467, 7-500, 8-528, 9-578.
Bowling: Steve Harmison 30-4-123-1 (6w,1nb), Matthew Hoggard 31-5-98-2 (1nb), James Anderson 29-6-141-1 (1w), Andrew Flintoff 30-4-99-4 (1w,3nb), Ashley Giles 25-2-91-1, Ian Bell 1-0-12-0 (2nb), Kevin Pietersen 9-1-28-0.
England, 1st Innings
Andrew Strauss c Hussey b McGrath 12
Alastair Cook c Warne b McGrath 11
Ian Bell not out 13
Paul Collingwood c Gilchrist b Clark 5
Kevin Pietersen not out 6
Extras: (4lb,2nb) 6
TOTAL: (for three wickets) 53
Overs: 17. Batting time: 81 minutes.
Fall of wickets: 1-28, 2-28, 3-42.
Still to bat: Andrew Flintoff, Geraint Jones, Ashley Giles, Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, James Anderson.
Bowling: Brett Lee 4-1-13-0 (1nb), Glenn McGrath 6-0-25-2 (1nb), Stuart Clark 6-2-9-1, Shane Warne 1-0-2-0.
Umpires: Steve Bucknor, West Indies, and Billy Bowden, New Zealand.
Match referee: Jeff Crowe, New Zealand.
Toss: won by Australia.Reuse content