Brisbane: Mike Hussey and Brad Haddin both hit magical centuries in a record partnership of 307 to put Australia firmly in control of the first Ashes Test at the end of the third day at the Gabba on Saturday.
Hussey hit a career best innings of 195 and Haddin pitched in with an impressive 136 as they dominated the day to help steer Australia to 481 all out and a first innings lead of 221 runs.
England captain Andrew Strauss, on a pair after a first innings duck, had a scare on his first ball but survived 15 tough overs with fellow opener Alastair Cook to leave the tourists on 19-0 in their second innings.
Hussey and Haddin, who came together on Friday with Australia wobbling at 143 for five, played measured cricket to weather England`s new ball onslaught in the morning before tearing off the shackles as the tourists toiled in the afternoon heat.
The partnership was the highest in a Test match at the Gabba, beating Don Bradman and Lindsay Hassett`s 276 for Australia in the 1946-47 Ashes series.
Wicketkeeper Haddin, who had resumed on 25, stifled his attacking instincts but still scored more freely than his partner, to put Australia past England`s first innings tally of 260 then bringing up his sixth Test 50.
It was not long, though, before Hussey brought up his 12th Test century with a four through the covers, sparking wild celebrations from another packed house.
A euphoric Hussey pumped his fists then raised his bat and helmet in the air as he took the ovation before embracing Haddin in the middle of the wicket.
Returning to Test cricket after missing the tour of India through injury, Haddin was not to be outdone and matched his partner`s feat in some style after lunch by clubbing a six over spin bowler Graeme Swann`s head to long-on.
Haddin was the first to fall, caught by Paul Collingwood off the bowling of Graeme Swann for 136 and Hussey followed three overs later when he miscued a pull shot to allow Cook to a catch into the sun at midwicket.
Hussey was Steve Finn`s third victim of the match and the young pace bowler then ripped through the Australian tail end to finish with 6-125, his third five wicket haul or better in Test cricket.
The day might have been very different but for the umpire referral system.
Hussey had added just one run to his overnight total of 81 when he was given out lbw to James Anderson but a review of the TV pictures showed the ball had pitched outside leg stump and umpire Aleem Dar`s decision was overturned.
Soon afterwards, the 35-year-old was giving thanks that England had already used the two reviews they are allowed in each innings when Dar turned down a loud shout for lbw from Anderson.
Replays showed Hussey would have gone had an appeal been available to England.
England will also rue missed catches from Cook and Anderson which would have curtailed Haddin`s innings but they did finally get a break from the TV umpire when they went out to bat.
Australian quick Ben Hilfenhaus bowled a corker of a first delivery to Strauss and when the appeal for lbw drew no response he requested a review which was turned down.