Australia conceded a first-innings lead of 122 runs in the Ashes opener, with Shane Watson trapped lbw early on day three.
The tourists resumed at 5-264 in Cardiff on Friday, when Watson walked to the middle on 29 with the weight of expectation on his broad shoulders.
The allrounder had the perfect stage to rescue Australia after their top order faltered on day two, silencing critics who lashed him for failing to cash in on immense potential.
It didn’t go to plan for the 34-year-old – at all.
Australia were rolled for 308 amid a collapse of 6-50 as Stuart Broad continued England’s plan of bowling straight at Watson and attacking his pads.
Broad needed three balls – and two lbw appeals – before umpire Marais Erasmus sent Watson on his way.
It was the 13th time in 36 innings against England that Watson had been dismissed lbw.
Watson reviewed the decision – something that generated equal parts mirth and vitriol on Twitter given it was a regular occurrence in the 2013 Ashes.
However, challenging the call was worth a try, given the review count was due to be reset in eight overs and the visitors had two in the bank.
Ball-tracking technology suggested it was barely flicking the top of leg stump, so the decision stood.
Nightwatchman Nathan Lyon went three overs later, plumb lbw to Mark Wood.
Brad Haddin and Mitchell Johnson put on a 39-run stand, but couldn’t reproduce their 114-run partnership that turned the first Test of the 2013-14 Ashes.
Jimmy Anderson and Broad troubled both with the second new ball.
Haddin was caught behind for 22, falling victim to a superb outswinger from Anderson.
The next over, Johnson chipped a full ball from Broad straight to Gary Ballance at midwicket, while Joe Root claimed a spectacular slips catch to dismiss Mitchell Starc.
Watson might have jeopardised his place in the XI.
Fellow allrounder Match Marsh posted back-to-back centuries on tour, against Kent and Essex.
However, the No.6 batsman wasn’t alone in failing to cash in on a slow wicket.
David Warner, Steve Smith, Michael Clarke and Adam Voges all made starts and showed promise on Thursday, but none of them kicked on like Chris Rogers.
“For a lot of us to get out the way we did is going to hurt, particularly when there is an opportunity to really make them count today,” Rogers said after day two.
“It’s personal pride.
“I got 95 and there were three 30s … we think we are better than that.”