England lost Michael Carberry shortly before lunch on day three to once again undermine their hopes of saving the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Carberry (60) and Ian Bell had counter-attacked to significant effect, after the departures of Joe Root and Kevin Pietersen in the first hour of a sunny morning in reply to Australia's first-innings 570 for nine declared.
Carberry passed his maiden Test half-century, and Bell dictated terms to off-spinner Nathan Lyon in particular - only for the opener to then grind to a halt against the miserly medium-pace of Shane Watson.
The consequence was terminal for Carberry, who spent 21 balls without scoring - with the total stuck on 111.
He then middled a pull at the final ball of a third successive maiden from Watson but was brilliantly caught low to his left by a diving David Warner at square leg in England's lunchtime 116 for four.
Root and Carberry began their innings with a combined deficit of 243 runs to offset, having dropped Michael Clarke and Brad Haddin early in their respective centuries.
If that was a harsh calculation, by the same token it was to the credit of both that they did not fall prey to any adverse psychology as they got themselves in once more and dealt admirably with the initial spells of Johnson and Ryan Harris.
Sadly, for Root, the hard work did not pay off.
He played a pre-meditated slog-sweep at Lyon, to the first ball he faced against him this morning.
After watching Haddin sweep England to shreds on day two, it must have been especially frustrating for the young Yorkshireman to mistime off the upper edge of his cross bat straight to deep square-leg.
Root's departure brought Pietersen into the fray, at a venue where he has made a century and a double-century on the last two tours here.
This time, he fell for just four in a very obvious trap set by captain Clarke and Peter Siddle.
Pietersen took no apparent account of two fielders posted for the catch at midwicket, and whipped a length ball straight to a juggling George Bailey.
Two wickets had fallen for the addition of nine runs.
But Bell was not compromised by the match situation, and his second scoring shot came when he advanced to Lyon and struck him perfectly over long off for six.
Another maximum soon followed, via the same method but over long on, and then Carberry completed a richly-deserved 115-ball 50 which contained eight fours.
The opener had appeared compact and in control throughout, save for the final two balls the night before when he might have been run out responding to Root's unexpected call for a single on 20 and then would have gone lbw had Australia chosen to review Johnson's lbw appeal.
It seemed he might be in for the long haul too, until 'Nelson' struck against England.