Moeen Ali mixed streaky with sublime to power England to a total of 430 early on day two of the Ashes opener in Cardiff.
Mitchell Starc grabbed a five-wicket haul but Australia failed to clean up the tail clinically on Thursday, when the hosts resumed at 7-343.
Ali added 51 runs to his overnight score, eventually falling for 77 when he was undone by Mitchell Starc’s swing.
Shane Watson snaffled the resultant edge as Starc, who returned to bowl despite an ankle niggle, finished with figures of 5-114.
Ali exhibited some power hitting and well-timed strokes, but rarely looked in full control.
Starc and Mitchell Johnson both found the edge of Ali’s bat somewhat regularly, while Nathan Lyon created a chance when the left-hander was on 70.
However, Johnson wasn’t on the rope and the miscued shot sailed over his head at long-off.
Josh Hazlewood, speaking after day one, nominated Ali as a “danger man”.
“He’s quite a clean hitter of the ball,” Hazlewood said.
“We can attack the other three guys and knock them over as quickly as we can and get batting.”
It didn’t go to plan for the visitors, with Stuart Broad putting on a 52-run stand with Ali.
Broad was given out on 11 when Adam Voges claimed a scrambling catch at short leg.
The verdict changed when third umpire Chris Gaffaney reviewed the catch, suggesting the leather scraped the pitch before Voges had control.
Broad added another seven runs before he attempted a wild slog, handing Lyon a wicket with his first ball of the day.
Ali was out driving three overs later, while Starc rattled Jimmy Anderson’s stumps to end the innings.
Australia will be bitterly disappointed, given the hosts would have crashed to 4-43 on day one, had Brad Haddin held a one-handed catch.
Instead, Joe Root scored 134 runs after the reprieve, rebuilding England’s innings with the help of Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes.