ENGLAND took command of the second Test after record- breaking performances from Paul Collingwood and Kevin Pietersen dominated Australia at the Adelaide Oval.
Resuming the second day on a promising 266 for three, the tourists finally declared on an imposing 551 for six after Collingwood and Pietersen both hit big centuries and shared a record 310-run stad.
Having dominated with the bat, England also made a crucial breakthrough with the ball before the close with captain Andrew Flintoff dismissing opener Justin Langer to leave Australia struggling on 28 for one.
But it was Collingwood and Pietersen who stole the spotlight after overhauling England's record fourth-wicket Ashes partnership of 288 recorded by Nasser Hussain and Graham Thorpe at Edgbaston in 1997.
Their efforts also beat the record fourth-wicket partnership at this ground, beating the 214 forged by Dean Jones and Allan Border against West Indies in 1988-9, while Collingwood's 206 was England's 10th highest Ashes innings in history.
The tourists had begun the day mindful of the fate which befell England at this ground four years ago, when they slipped from 295 for four at the end of the first day to 342 all out.
But the pair withstood everything Australia threw at them, including a spell when they tried to frustrate them with negative tactics, to reclaim the momentum following England's resounding 277-runs opening Test defeat at the Gabba.
It was a particularly memorable day for Durham all-rounder Collingwood, who missed out on a maiden Ashes century in the previous Test and may not have featured in the series had Marcus Trescothick not returned home with a recurrence of his stress-related illness.
Resuming overnight on a nervous 98, Collingwood showed great composure to reach the landmark off the second delivery he faced by clipping Brett Lee through mid-wicket for three.
He was almost run out on 109 after he pushed Glenn McGrath to mid-on and set off for a quick single only for Mike Hussey to miss the stumps at the non-striker's end with Collingwood stranded.
But other than that half-chance, Collingwood was impeccable in his shot selection and even out-scored big-hitting Pietersen during the afternoon session.
Pietersen had resumed overnight on 60 and almost fell before he had added to that total, surviving a strong appeal for a catch behind from Lee which umpire Steve Bucknor rejected.
He made Australia pay for that close shave, hitting three boundaries from McGrath's first over of the day and progressed to 99 by hitting Shane Warne down the ground for four and then a three through mid-wicket.
His century, the sixth of his England career and his second against Australia, was brought up with a snatched single off seamer Stuart Clark and threatened to light up the Adelaide Oval with a swashbuckling innings.
He was prevented from playing in his characteristic manner by Australia's negative tactics which included using Warne to bowl around the wicket and landing the ball outside Pietersen's leg-stump.
Collingwood was not given the same respect and happily took advantage, becoming the first England player to score a double hundred against Australia since Hussain at Edgbaston in 1997.
He brought up the incredible landmark by launching left-arm spinner Michael Clarke over the top for one of 16 boundaries and had progressed to 206 when he played a tired-looking shot and was caught behind off Clark.
Collingwood had batted for over eight hours and was followed back to the dressing room six overs after tea by Pietersen, who ran himself out attempting a quick single off Clark by Australian captain Ricky Ponting.
Flintoff finally declared after adding a quickfire 60 off 84 balls with Ashley Giles and then struck with the 12th legitimate delivery of the day, a bouncer which Langer could only fend to Pietersen in the gully.