Stuart Broad and Graeme Swann took nine wickets for 75 runs as England unexpectedly took control on day two of the Ashes decider at the Oval.
Broad (five for 37) began Australia's collapse from 73 for none to 160 all out in reply to 332, by taking the first four to fall in the space of five overs for only eight runs.
Swann (four for 38) joined in to dramatic effect as the tourists lost their first-innings foothold in a match they need only draw to retain the urn.
Australia were all out shortly after tea - and by stumps, England's second innings had realised 58 for three for a lead of 230.
The day began with James Anderson finally registering his first Test match duck, in his 55th innings, lbw on the back foot to Ben Hilfenhaus (three for 71).
Anderson's was to be the first of 15 wickets on a day when England surged from a forlorn position into one which gives them an outstanding chance of snatching the Ashes back after all.