Centurion Jonathan Trott continued England's domination of Australia in the fourth Ashes Test - much to the frustration of Ricky Ponting on a bad-tempered second day at the MCG.
Having watched the hosts capitulate for 98 on day one, Trott ploughed on to an unbeaten 141, while wicketkeeper Matt Prior added a breezy 75 not out in a stand worth 158 by stumps.
That meant England closed on 444 for five, a lead of 346 which leaves them overwhelming favourites to retain the urn by taking a 2-1 series lead with one match to play.
Ponting's anger boiled over in an ugly confrontation with both umpires, after DRS procedure ruled in Kevin Pietersen's favour over a failed caught-behind appeal.
Pietersen was just one short of his 50 when Brad Haddin convinced his team-mates to review Aleem Dar's not-out decision off the bowling of Ryan Harris.
No simulated evidence emerged to support Australia's review, and the initial verdict was duly confirmed.
But that did not stop Ponting, and Peter Siddle, berating Dar - and then his colleague Tony Hill - in an unseemly incident which halted
play for minutes rather than seconds.
It was highly likely, therefore, that the under-pressure Australia captain, and Siddle too, would attract the attention of match referee Ranjan Madugalle.
It would be surprising, after such an unedifying spat - in front of around 67,000 eyewitnesses and millions of television viewers - if the umpires did not report the matter.
A resulting Level 2 charge for dissent, under the International Cricket Council's code of conduct, brings with it the possibility of a one-Test ban - although a match fee fine is more often the outcome of a proven case.
An eventful afternoon brought plenty more mixed emotions for Ponting, after Siddle had given Australia a much-needed kickstart on day two of this pivotal match.
They began already 59 runs behind, with no English wickets down, after their hapless 98 all out yesterday. But Siddle made short work of openers Andrew Strauss and Alastair Cook, who had an unbroken stand of
157 to their name overnight but could add only another seven runs
Pietersen and Trott then put on 92 together to keep England on course for a victory which would leave the series score at 2-1 in their favour and the Ashes retained.
Cloudy morning conditions were eerily similar to those which helped to undermine Australia 24 hours earlier, and Siddle soon proved there were still some demons in this pitch when the sun is hiding.
The movement across Cook (82), for an edge and neat catch low down at slip by Shane Watson, was not outrageous.
But the delivery which did for Strauss (69) was every bit as lethal as the one his opposite number Ponting failed to cope with yesterday.
Siddle got the ball to seam back at the left-hander and kick so alarmingly that it required an outstanding one-handed catch high above his head at gully by Michael Hussey to complete the dismissal.
Events continued to go largely England's way, though - notably Pietersen surviving his controversial DRS - and Trott needing a third-umpire ruling when he almost ran himself out chancing a third run on Ponting's arm from the outfield to go to 49.
But Siddle got his hands on a nearly new ball, moments after his part in the DRS altercation, and duly saw off Pietersen lbw on the back foot to one that kept low and jagged back.
Mitchell Johnson's bouncer tactics then accounted for the out-of-form Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell, for a rare failure, when both holed out on the hook at deep fine-leg - each time to Siddle, who could not stay
out of the game on his home ground.
In Trott, England nonetheless had a banker bet to keep consolidating their advantage - and he did not disappoint on his way to a 211-ball century, which took his tally of calendar Test runs to 1,257 and featured much trademark determination and accumulation despite having to hobble many of his runs after being struck a painful blow on the right knee from an inside edge.
There had been another kick in the teeth for Australia too - Dar again taking a central role.
The umpire gave Prior out for a routine caught-behind off Johnson, only to belatedly query - as the batsman was walking off past him and Tim Bresnan was on his way out to the crease as the next man in - whether
the bowler had overstepped.
Consultation with the third umpire confirmed a marginal no-ball, and Prior survived in bizarre circumstances to share a profitable stand with Trott.
Trott, looking in fine touch, stroked his side past 400 with a glorious cover drive off Siddle after Prior had upped the run-rate off some loose bowling from Steven Smith.
Johnson got one to leap at Prior late in the day, but the ball flew for four over and wide of the cordon. It was a rare moral victory for the bowlers in the final hour, as the England pair brought up new milestones - Prior's 50 and the 150 partnership included - with a
series of crushing strokes.