Australia overhauled England's first innings total of 435 on Friday during a productive second session on the third day of the first Ashes Test.
Michael Clarke batted beautifully throughout with a string of handsome shots to reach 70 not out at tea. He was ably supported by Marcus North who marked his Ashes debut by reaching his half-century just before the interval.
Australia were 458 for four after losing three wickets in the opening session.
Clarke drove Stuart Broad to the extra-cover boundary and off-drove Monty Panesar over long-off for six without obvious effort to bring up the 50 partnership.
He brought up his half-century with a driven four off Graeme Swann and pulled Andrew Flintoff sweetly through mid-wicket to give Australia the first innings lead.
North swept Panesar for four and took further boundaries off Swann with a square-cut and a sweep. Two mistimed sweeps by North off Panesar which fell safely in the fine-leg area were the only obvious blemishes over two hours.
Swann, who had come into the match as England's form bowler after impressive displays in India and the Caribbean, suffered in particular. The off-spinner conceded 86 runs from 28 wicketless overs after bowling five consecutive maidens on Thursday.
James Anderson took two wickets in 14 deliveries with the second new ball in the pre-lunch sesssion to dismiss Simon Katich (122) and Michael Hussey (3).
Captain Ricky Ponting, whose second wicket partnership with Katich had turned the match in Australia's favour, was out for 150 when he dragged a Panesar delivery on to his stumps.