Shane Warne removed Andrew Strauss to capture an unprecedented 700th test wicket and then added Nos. 701-704 in quick succession to rub it in against England. After winning the toss and electing to bat on Tuesday, England was bundled out for 159 on the opening day of the fourth test against Australia.
Warne returned 5-39 from 17.2 overs _ including 4-18 as England lost its last six wickets for 42 after tea - for his 37th five-wicket innings haul.
The English hit back with captain Andrew Flintoff taking wickets on consecutive balls, both caught behind, as Australia slipped from 44 without loss to 44 for two.
Chris Read, recalled at the expense of Geraint Jones, took a low catch to complete the dismissal of Justin Langer (27) and then held onto a thick edge from night watchman Brett Lee (0) on the next ball.
Ricky Ponting watched the hat-trick ball go down legside and did not score in the remaining seven minutes before stumps. Matthew Hayden was unbeaten on 17 and Australia was 48 for two. Flintoff had 2-20 from five overs.
Having already guaranteed it will reclaim the Ashes with a 3-0 series lead, Australia is pushing to be only the second team to sweep a five-test Ashes series.
Warne, playing his 144th and penultimate test, was urged on by a 89,155-strong crowd at the Melbourne Cricket Ground that chanted for him to be introduced to the attack for most of the rain-interrupted morning.
He bowled his first over in the 41st of England's innings and claimed his 700th wicket on the second ball of his fourth over when he squeezed a delivery between Strauss' bat and pad. Strauss was out for 50 and England slipped to 101 for four, and never really recovered.
Warne wheeled around to his left, pointing his right finger in the air, as the huge crowd rose to give him a standing ovation. When he took the last wicket on a gloomy day and on a field illuminated by floodlights _ Monty Panesar caught by Andrew Symonds at mid-on _ Warne held the ball up to more thunderous applause from his home crowd.
The fast bowlers also contributed, with Lee and Stuart Clark taking two wickets apiece and Glenn McGrath _ who also is playing his next-to-last test match _ returning 1-37 in 20 overs. Strauss had defied the Australian bowlers for 205 minutes to post his first half century of the series, having a reprieve on 41 when he sliced Clark to gully and Hayden put down a regulation chance. England's scorecard could have looked worse if Australia had taken all its chances. Adam Gilchrist also put one down off McGrath's bowling and missed a stumping opportunity when Kevin Pietersen was facing Warne.
Lee had Alastair Cook (11) caught behind with the total at 23 in a morning session dominated by the Australian quicks, who were moving the ball around off the seam in the moist conditions. Clark trapped Ian Bell (7) lbw soon after lunch and Lee returned to end Paul Collingwood's chancy innings on 28.
Collingwood was on two when he was squared up by McGrath and got a thick edge which Gilchrist put down as he dived in front of first slip.
Collingwood survived a big shout for lbw against Symonds before he got a thick edge off Lee to Ponting at second slip to make the total 101 for three.
Warne dismissed Strauss in the next over, leaving England's last recognized batsmen at the crease.
He then had a hand in the dismissal of Flintoff (13), holding a catch at slip off Clark's bowling as England lost its fifth wicket. That started Warne's roll. The 37-year-old legspinner removed Read (3) and Steve Harmison (7).
England's last line of resistance fell when Pietersen (21) tried to hit out after a 101-minute stand and succeeded only in lifting a Warne delivery to Symonds running around to long-on. Panesar was out attempting a slog, giving Warne his fifth wicket and leaving Matthew Hoggard stranded on nine.