Australian middle-order batsman Michael Hussey led a counter-attack for the home team after England dominated the second session of Day 2 of the opening Ashes Test at the Gabba in Brisbane on Friday.
Replying to England's first innings score of 260, Australia were 220 for five when play was stopped due to bad light with a scheduled hour left.
Australia trail England by 40 runs with five wickets remaining in the 1st innings.
Hussey, unbeaten on 81 and Brad Haddin (22 not out) were at the crease sharing an unbeaten 77 run sixth-wicket partnership.
Their partnership steadied the innings after the hosts lost four wickets in a calamitous second session.
James Anderson (2 for 40) and Steven Finn (2 for 61) bowled well to peg back the Australians.
Ricky Ponting (10) and Simon Katich (50) fell in the first half hour after lunch. Michael Clarke (nine) was caught behind in the second hour and Marcus North (one) quickly followed.
Clarke top-edged a pull shot from Steven Finn (2-61) and North edged Graeme Swann (1-59) to slip.