An unbeaten 70 from Ellyse Perry showed Australia the way and kept them in the hunt to wrap up the women's Ashes on the second day of the historic pink-ball Test in Sydney.
After the hosts lost 3-13 midway through Friday's second session and showed signs of collapsing, Perry helped resurrect the Aussies to 5-177 in their first innings by stumps, in reply to England's 280.
The Australian star is just 30 runs from her maiden international century. But she lost a key ally late in the day when captain Rachael Haynes (33) was trapped lbw to a swinging Katherine Brunt delivery in England's first over with the second new pink ball.
Alyssa Healy then helped see Australia through the last 20 minutes to stumps, unbeaten on one in front of a crowd of 3613 at North Sydney Oval.
"I always thought when they took that second new ball, it was a danger period," Australia's coach Matt Mott said.
"It was proper Test cricket at the end then. They were coming in with a new ball firing in and it was dangerous.
"We're certainly pretty happy to come off ... We were counting down the balls at the end."
This one-off showdown is both sides' first Test match in more than two years.
While others struggled to adapt to long-form cricket, Perry looked at home.
She started patiently and excelled late with 10 boundaries, the majority of Australia's top order regularly becoming bogged down by England's economical bowling.
It allowed teenage debutante Sophie Ecclestone (2-51) to wreak havoc midway through the second session, as she knocked over opener Beth Mooney (24) and veteran Alex Blackwell for just two.
Opener Nicole Bolton (24) and Elyse Villani also fell trying to up the tempo after slow periods to Laura Marsh (1-28) and Anya Shrubsole (1-21) respectively.
"I think it comes as a consequence of not playing a lot in this format," Mott said.
"Both sides perhaps have read too much into the format. I think the run rates certainly haven't done justice to the ground.
"Both sides would be disappointed with the scoring rates in this game so far."
Earlier on Friday, Perry (3-59) had combined with fellow quick Megan Schutt (2-52) to make light work of England's lower order.
The visitors resumed on 7-235, but failed to go on with Thursday's strong start, eventually losing their last nine wickets for 151 runs.