MATTHEW HAYDEN and Andrew Symonds powered Australia into a commanding position with big centuries to put them on the road to victory.
The pair came together with their side in trouble at 84-5, still trailing England by 75 runs, after the tourists claimed three wickets early.
But just as England looked set to fight their way back into contention, Queensland pair Hayden and Symonds forged a stunning 279-run partnership as Australia built up a 213-run lead reaching 372-7.
Both players were under scrutiny for different reasons with Hayden being one of many experienced players in Australia's line-up under threat as they attempt to introduce younger blood.
Symonds was also under pressure having been recalled to the side following the retirement of Damien Martyn and needing an innings of note after two failures in Perth.
But they both delivered with Hayden hitting a superb 153, his 27th Test century, and Symonds cracking his maiden Test ton to finish unbeaten on 154, including 15 fours and a six.
It was a big disappointment for England, who got skipper Ricky Ponting and the dangerous Mike Hussey (who averaged 138 in the series before this knock) cheaply and followed up by removing Michael Clarke, who made a century in the previous Test.
Legend Geoff Boycott said:
"More or less through this series we have been bowling on two seamers, Matthew Hoggard and Andrew Flintoff.
"Flintoff has had a slight problem with his ankle following his operation, which is understandable, and Hoggard has bowled well as he always does.
"After those two there is no consistency. Steve Harmison is not there as a match-winner and, sorry, but Sajid Mahmood and James Anderson are not up to it. They are not there."
Boycott added: "What you get is patchy, inconsistent cricket.
"Hoggard was tight and moving it and Flintoff was bowling well, too, so we had a good morning on the second day.
"But the other guys have to bowl and the pressure is then off the batsmen. The field gets spread out, Andrew Symonds is not a great Test player but is brilliant in one-dayers.
"Suddenly you have the lesser bowlers on, the field spreads, Monty Panesar is bowling with a long-off and a long-on and Symonds feels comfortable. It's like a one-dayer."