England sneaked the advantage after a hectic first session as Australia took lunch on 107 for three in the third Test at the WACA.
England struck early, in unexpected circumstances, when James Anderson's speed and accuracy ran out Chris Rogers.
But from 13 for one, David Warner (49no) kept the pressure on with some fierce driving among his seven fours as well as one dismissive six over long on off Tim Bresnan.
A frenetic first hour, after Michael Clarke had won the toss on a searingly hot day, contained nine boundaries for Australia and two wickets for England.
Rogers clipped Broad off his legs for the first four, and next ball glanced fine for another.
But that was as good as it got for him, at what was for so long his home ground - because an attempted sharp single next ball did not account for the athleticism of Anderson.
Rogers' dive was in vain, after Anderson moved quickly to his left and transferred to his right hand for a direct hit at the non-striker's end.
It was a bonus wicket, and so too was that of number three Shane Watson - who contributed significantly to his own downfall when he tried to drive the previously expensive Stuart Broad but instead speared an edge high to Graeme Swann at second slip.
The length was wrong for the shot, especially at this venue, and gave Broad an early chance against Michael Clarke at the start of his second spell.
It quickly became obvious, though, that after his centuries in Australia's victories in the first two Tests their captain was still in ominous form.
He left many of the big shots to Warner, who brought up the 50 stand and Australia's hundred with that back-foot six off Bresnan.
In the same over, Warner had been eying a similar shot when he crunched the ball back at the Yorkshireman who threw out his right hand but could not cling on to the half-chance offered on 37.
The introduction of Swann, however, for one over before lunch brought Engalnd the wicket they craved - that of Clarke.
Trying to milk a single into the leg side, he instead chipped a low catch to the off-spinner's standard man at straight midwicket to revive English hopes that they may after all be able to battle back in this series.