Australian paceman Peter Siddle destroyed England's lower middle order by taking a hat-trick and finishing with 6-54 as the visitors were dismissed for 260 late on the first day of the first Ashes Test on Thursday.
Australia's Simon Katich and Shane Watson, anxious to avoid the fate England suffered when skipper Andrew Strauss was out for a duck on the third ball of the match, successfully negotiated the last seven overs of the day to reach 25 for none at stumps.
Siddle, who was celebrating his 26th birthday, claimed the key wickets of Kevin Pietersen (43) and Alastair Cook (67) in two brilliant spells that pegged the tourists back just when they looked like taking control.
Ian Bell, who hit a gutsy 76, was the last recognised England batsman to fall to give Xavier Doherty his first Test wicket on debut. The left-arm spinner added his second to end the innings when he bowled James Anderson for 11.
It was Siddle's day, however, and he more than justified his inclusion in the attack at the expense of Doug Bollinger by claiming career best figures, his third five-wicket Test haul and becoming the 11th Australian to take a Test hat-trick.
England's talisman Pietersen and Paul Collingwood (4) both fell to slip catches in his second spell after lunch but it was the third spell that really set the day alight and dented England's hopes of ending Australia's 22-year unbeaten run in Tests at the Gabba.
Opener Cook, who had held the England innings together with a dogged half-century, went first, when Shane Watson juggled the ball in the slips before he secured the catch.
Siddle kept it simple with his next ball, a venomous full delivery that took out wicketkeeper Matt Prior's middle stump and sent him back to the dressing room for a golden duck.
The capacity crowd, sensing something special, rose to their feet as England's young bowling hope Stuart Broad walked out to the crease and went into wild celebrations as Siddle fired down a superb inswinger that struck the batsman on the toe and umpire Aleem Dar raised his finger for leg-before-wicket.
Broad appealed the decision to the television umpire, though the replays only confirmed umpire's decision and the bustling fast bowler's hat-trick.
Graeme Swann managed to fend off the last delivery of the over but lasted only 22 minutes before he became Siddle's sixth victim, trapped leg before for 10.
England's hopes of winning their first Ashes series on Australian soil since 1986-87 had received a hammer blow in the first over of the day, when Strauss cut the third ball of the Test series straight to Mike Hussey at gully.
Katich will resume on 15 not out alongside Watson, who was on nine at the close of play.