Mitchell Starc has grabbed a career-best haul but it’s likely to be a futile fightback in the fourth Ashes Test.
Australia were set to relinquish the urn from the moment they were skittled for just 60 on day one at Trent Bridge.
The challenge ahead was even more immense when Alastair Cook declared at 9-391 on day two, England holding a first-innings lead of 331 runs.
David Warner and Chris Rogers survived three nervy overs to reach lunch, pushing the side to 0-14.
“It’s pretty simple. They just have to make 500,” former skipper Ricky Ponting said on Sky Sports.
“They have to get 500 or they’re no chance of winning this game.”
By stumps on Thursday, England were 4-274 and near-certainties to take an unassailable 3-1 lead in the five-Test series.
The hosts were further demoralised on Friday, England managing 61 boundaries in response to Australia’s 60 runs.
The visiting attack was never going to defend Australia’s lowest Test total in England since 1902, although Starc’s attempt to do so was admirable.
The left-armer finished with 6-111, bowling a spell of 10 overs on Friday morning.
It wasn’t quite Stuart Broad’s bedazzling 8-15 but it was one of few highlights for a side desperately low on confidence after their embarrassing effort with the bat.
Starc, who picked up three of the four wickets to fall on day one, kickstarted a collapse of 4-35 on day two with the scalp of centurion Joe Root.
Root was caught behind for 130, tentatively driving at a ball angled across him.
Starc then rattled the stumps of nightwatchman Mark Wood and Jos Buttler, snaring 3-5 in 12 balls.
The 25-year-old swung the ball at will, despite it being 65 overs old at the start of play but exercised reasonable control.
Mitchell Johnson and Josh Hazlewood were unable to have the same impact.
Hazlewood had Ben Stokes caught behind on the leg side but was hammered for 19 runs in his first over with the second new ball.
A sensational slips catch from Steve Smith helped Johnson dismiss Moeen Ali for 38 but Wood smacked five boundaries off the leader of the attack.
England scored 54 in the first 10 overs on day two – the ease at which Wood scored 28 a source of inspiration and frustration for Michael Clarke.
Wood showed there are runs in the pitch.
It remains to be seen whether Australia can cash in after being rolled in 18.3 overs – the fastest first innings in Test history.
Clarke removed himself from the slips for much of the session, often consulting Johnson and Hazlewood.
“As captain you need to be as positive as you can be and understand that it’s day one down in a Test,” he said on Thursday.
“There’s still a lot of time left in this Test, we’ve just got to play out of our skins.”
The team has became somewhat of a national joke, with Foreign Minister Julie Bishop quipping that she’d consider revoking their citizenship.