England are back. Having surrendered the Ashes with three inept showings over the first month of the series that saw the departure of two senior players and doubts over the futures of several others, England finally turned the tables on Australia at the MCG yesterday.
New-ball bowlers James Anderson and Stuart Broad delivered the same sort of suffocating pressure exerted by their opponents to demolish Australia's first innings in what opener Chris Rogers described as the "worst day of the series".
"It has been a very disappointing series but we are hungry to get something out of the tour," Anderson said after claiming 3-50 in his most incisive display of the summer.
Brad Haddin (43 not out) will start with last man Nathan Lyon this morning after Anderson and Broad (3-30) left Australia reeling at 9-164.
The Australian duo have a critical role to play in getting their team close to England's 255 which may prove a highly competitive total on the sluggish drop-in pitch.
The dreary surface is primarily responsible for the dour and attritional cricket that has not done justice to the crowds totalling nearly 170,000 people at the ground and a television audience into the many millions.
The pitch frustrated batsmen on both teams who reacted with impatient and poorly conceived strokes that kept wickets tumbling all day.
Apart from Rogers, who batted for nearly four hours to hold Australia's top order together, no batsman was able to approach a half-century.
"England are on top," Rogers said. "We have had our worst day of the series but England bowled outstandingly well today. We are up against it and we will have to fight hard to get out of it."
Rogers was left dazed and bleeding after receiving a savage blow to the side of the head from a Broad bumper but recovered to grind out 61 before holing out with an uncharacteristic swipe at Tim Bresnan.
He used three replacement helmets after his original one was damaged by the blow but was distracted because his front shoulder kept knocking the grille of each new device.
Rogers followed fellow opener David Warner, the proppy Shane Watson, captain Michael Clarke and Steve Smith in succumbing to errors of judgment after being tied down by the disciplined bowling.
"You have to adjust to the conditions and we didn't adjust too well," Rogers admitted.
The immediate future of George Bailey, Australia's Twenty20 captain but an unconvincing batsman at Test level, will vex the selectors this week after his painstaking duck continued a modest debut series.
Bailey soaked up 19 balls without scoring before being given out caught behind on review despite limited evidence to support the dismissal.
There was no Hotspot flash as he slashed at the short Anderson delivery while the audio recording appeared inconclusive but was enough to convince third umpire Billy Bowden to over-rule Aleem Dar's reprieve.
Mitchell Johnson earlier cleaned up the England tail with a remarkable five-wicket burst with the second new ball.
After claiming two wickets on the previous evening, he speared through the tail with a ferocious burst of fast, hostile and accurate pace bowling.
Bresnan fended Johnson's first ball of the day to the short-leg fieldsman, Kevin Pietersen was bowled attempting a puzzling slog in the same over and Broad again was lbw going back to a yorker.
Johnson's exhilarating opening spell of 3-4 from four overs gave him five wickets in the innings and a total of 28 in the series.
Given that the reborn left-armer could bowl in three more innings at the MCG and SCG next week, he has the chance to become just the eighth Test bowler and first player since Shane Warne in 2005 to claim 40 wickets in a series.