Unbeaten centurion Shaun Marsh batted Australia into a position of dominance then Mitchell Starc further battered England's confidence, leaving the hosts on top after two days of the pink-ball Ashes Test.
Asked to bat first at Adelaide Oval, Australia embarrassed and infuriated England's attack by compiling 442/8 (dec) in an innings that spanned 149 overs.
The visitors survived 9.1 overs to be 1-29 when heavy rain ended Sunday's play. Starc bowled with great pace and trapped Mark Stoneman lbw, with the opener wasting a review.
Steve Smith tucked into dinner then declared four overs after last night's meal break. Marsh finished 126 not out after plundering 15 runs from the final over of the innings - Stuart Broad's 30th.
"There were a few emotions there. Probably when I got to 90 I started to get a little bit nervous," Marsh told reporters.
"I'm extremely happy to get a hundred for my country.
"It was great fun out there ... I am really relaxed at the moment.
"It was hard work this morning, hopefully it can be hard work (for England's batsmen) tomorrow morning."
England coach Trevor Bayliss insisted his side could complete a remarkable victory by batting deep into day four.
"They're confident. It's a good feeling in the dressing room, they were certainly not disheartened at all," Bayliss said.
"Shaun showed it's not impossible to score runs out there, a lot of their batters made starts.
"It's up to one or two of our guys to make a big score."
Smith's side resumed at 209/4 yesterday, with Marsh on 20.
They slipped to 209/5 when Broad trapped Peter Handscomb lbw with the third delivery of the day then screamed in the Victorian's face in a send off that could be punished by the match referee.
But Marsh, who started his knock at 8.47pm local time on Saturday night and spent twice as long at the crease as any other batsman in the match, remained a picture of patience.
As was the case in Australia's 10-wicket win at the Gabba, Pat Cummins batted superbly to hammer home Australia's advantage. Cummins (44) and Marsh put on a 99-run stand, all but breaking the visitors' spirit.
"They are not far off begging for mercy," Shane Warne remarked on the Nine Network during yesterday's second session.
Marsh, barring an lbw dismissal on 29 that prompted a successful review and a chance on 102 that Alastair Cook and James Vince made a meal of, batted with with great composure to see off the second new ball then reach three figures with a powerful pull shot that sent the ball fizzing to the rope.
"I probably thought it was pitching outside leg more than going over, so when I saw the ball was pitching in line I thought I could be in trouble," Marsh said of his referral.
Marsh earlier played second fiddle in an 85-run stand with Tim Paine, who successfully reviewed an lbw dismissal on 24 before he was out pulling on 57.