Warne takes Australia within reach of retaining the Ashes
Despite frequent interruptions for rain England manoeuvred themselves into a dominating position on the second day, only to find themselves once again dragged back into the mire by their old tormenter-in-chief Shane Warne.
Five wickets for Warne, four of them late in the day, plus another high-quality all-round performance from Adam Gilchrist ensured that the Australians weren't about to surrender their initiative in the series without a fight.
At the close of the second day the home side, in their second innings, were on 144-6, leading overall by 139 runs, with 4 wickets in hand.
Marcus Trescothick and Michael Atherton gave their side a solid platform by putting together a stand of 57 at the start of England's second innings but then Warne struck in unusual fashion. Trescothick, on 31, struck the spinner firmly to leg but unluckily saw it rebound off the shin-pads of the close-in fielder Matthew Hayden. 'Keeper Gilchrist threw himself forward to scoop up the catch.
Mark Butcher made only one before Brett Lee trapped him lbw and the same bowler then had Mark Ramprakash caught behind off a no-ball. Lee, in a fiery burst, had earlier struck the grille on Atherton's helmet with a delivery clocked at 91.8mph. Atherton also looked fortunate to survive a shout for lbw from Glenn McGrath, whose premature celebration took him beyond the striker.
In the evening gloom Atherton and Ramprakash took their stand to 50, from 93 balls, with both batsmen hammering delightful shots through the offside from the bowling of Jason Gillespie. Atherton's own half-century came with a push through the covers off Warne. On 51, though, it appeared as if he was given out incorrectly for the second time in the match. Replays seemed to indicate that he clipped his pad as he pushed forward to Warne but umpire Venkat gave him out caught behind.
Having been very much on the ropes Australia bounced back with another wicket in Warne's next over, as Alec Stewart chopped his second delivery onto his stumps.
Ramprakash, still with something to prove at this level, had moved competently to 26 but then a rush of blood persuaded him to charge at Warne and Gilchrist completed the most routine of stumpings. The leggie had picked up 3-5 in nine balls and he collected yet another five-wicket haul in the final over as Steve Waugh dived to hold a bat-pad catch off Craig White.
During the morning session Australia were again indebted to Adam Gilchrist, whose 54 ensured that the visitors picked up a narrow first innings lead. Bowling honours went to Alex Tudor who collected the last three wickets to fall, to finish with figures of 5-44, his first five-wicket haul in Tests.