Re-energised England produced a spirited revival with bat and ball but still trailed badly after three days of the second Ashes Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Only a sterling, unbeaten 41 from debutant number nine Craig Overton helped the tourists approach even relative respectability in their first innings as Nathan Lyon (four for 60) and Mitchell Starc (three for 49) shared the bulk of the proceeds.
Then after Australia decided against enforcing the follow-on, James Anderson and Chris Woakes deservedly bagged two wickets each under lights in the hosts’ 53 for four at stumps.
When they faltered to an alarming 142 for seven, England were still 300 runs adrift, before Overton and Woakes’ eighth-wicket stand of 66 helped them to 227 all out.
Anderson and Stuart Broad then used the new ball emphatically better than they had on day one – but with an overall lead of 268 at the close, Australia retained their grip on this match.
Cook went shortly after to spinner Nathan Lyon and TV host Piers Morgan struggled to hide his dissatisfaction.
It was not a good session for the tourists.
They say catches win matches and two fine reactionary catches off their own bowling from Starc and Lyon turned the screw on England.
Pietersen was impressed.
And Starc’s catch even caught the attention of his wife, fellow Australia cricketer Alyssa Healy.
And he had his own say at stumps.
Lyon’s acrobatics also caught the eye.
With England’s demise 219 for eight at the break, Morgan was still less than impressed.
And called for the return of a former captain and friend.
Former Australia quick Mitchell Johnson though, had a different take on proceedings.
Craig Overton and Chris Woakes gave England brief hope with a stand of 66 but the follow-on looked a tough ask.
Australia quickly wrapped up the England innings and captain Steve Smith surprised many by not enforcing the follow on.
England staged a fightback with the ball starting to swing under the lights.
And after the removal of Usman Khawaja and David Warner, England thought they had claimed Smith without scoring but the captain was saved by DRS.
It did not take long though for England to get their man and this time there was no saving Smith.
The enthralling final session showed Test cricket at its very best with England rallying to give themselves a glimmer of hope of levelling the series.