PERTH - Australia removed Michael Carberry and Joe Root in the half an hour before tea to leave England on 91 for two at the break on the second day of the potentially decisive third Ashes test at a sweltering WACA on Saturday.
The tourists, who need at least a draw to keep the series alive and had earlier dismissed the hosts for 385, will be fuming after the controversial dismissal of Root ruined what had been their best day of the series so far.
Captain Alastair Cook had combined with Carberry for England's biggest opening partnership in eight tests against Australia this year and will resume on 42 with Kevin Pietersen yet to score alongside him.
Carberry was dismissed by Ryan Harris for 43 half an hour before the break to end the 85-run opening partnership but it was Root's departure for four 20 minutes later that was the biggest blow to the tourists.
All-rounder Shane Watson's medium paced delivery beat the Yorkshireman's bat and umpire Marais Erasmus raised his finger in the midst of a frenzied appeal from the Australians, who thought they had heard a nick of bat on ball.
Root immediately appealed to the Decision Review System but despite nothing in the battery of technology available to the TV umpire indicating any contact of leather on wood, the decision was upheld.
The openers had earlier both weathered early scares against a Mitchell Johnson-led pace attack that dominated the English batsmen in comprehensive victories in Brisbane and Adelaide.
It was Harris, Australia's best bowler in the first Ashes series of the year, who made the breakthrough, though, by inducing an indecisive Carberry to nick the ball onto his own stumps with a fizzing delivery from around the wicket.
Cook had the first scare in the six overs the Englishmen had to negotiate in the lead-up to lunch when he got an edge to a Harris delivery that Steve Smith was unable to hold onto in the slips.
Carberry got one life on 10 facing Johnson when Smith again got a hand on the ball, this time around his feet, but could not hold on.
He got another on 18 when he attempted a hook off seamer Peter Siddle only to see the ball take a thick edge but just evade a running Brad Haddin.
There were some shots too, though, with Cook's driving and cutting for fours off successive deliveries off Shane Watson and Carberry welcomed Nathan Lyon with a six in the spinner's first over.
England's bowlers had started the day bowling a better length than they had on Friday - when they let the hosts off the hook after reducing them to 143 for five - but Australia still added 59 runs to their overnight tally of 326 for six.
Stuart Broad (3-100) had Johnson caught behind by Matt Prior for 39 and Smith went in similar fashion for 111 after an England appeal to the TV umpire revealed a tiny nick and gave James Anderson his first wicket of the match.
Harris accumulated 12 runs before pushing an Anderson delivery to Root in the gully but Lyon (17 not out) and Siddle (21) put on 31 for the last wicket before the latter was also caught behind off Tim Bresnan.