Australia need a further 128 runs with five wickets in hand in the women's Ashes Test at the WACA in Perth heading into the final day.
Three quick wickets from Kate Cross on her Test debut helped reduce Australia to 57-5 chasing a target 185.
The hosts had looked to score their runs quickly as opener Elyse Villani set about starting her Test career in style.
She made a run-a-ball 21 before holing out to Natalie Sciver from Katherine Brunt's bowling, although Australia still looked in a strong position until Cross' spell of domination.
Villani's fellow opener Meg Lanning ambled her way to 15 before she was caught behind off the 22-year-old, with Jess Cameron following her team-mate back to the pavilion having been caught from the next ball.
Although she did not manage to seal a hat-trick with the following delivery, Cross did not have to wait too long to take her third victim.
Alex Blackwell went the same way as Lanning to pick up a pair and leave Australia struggling on 40-4.
Captain Jodie Fields looked as though she would offer some resistance and take her side into the final day but she could not see out the remaining overs.
Jenny Gunn got in on the act as Fields was stumped by Sarah Taylor for 13, with Ellyse Perry closing the day alongside Sarah Elliott, who had scored just five runs off 53 deliveries.
Resuming on 18-3 in their second innings at the start of day three, England captain Charlotte Edwards led from the front with a top score of 56 before being trapped lbw by Australia seamer Perry.
Sciver (23) was the first player to fall, again snared by Perry, who shook England's higher middle order by removing Arran Brindle to leave the Ashes holders on 73-5.
Edwards steered her side away from a collapse and was ably assisted by Gunn, who continued on after her captain's dismissal to reach 44 before being caught behind off the bowling of Erin Osborne.
The tail offered little support, with Danielle Hazell, Anya Shrubsole and Cross falling for a combined total of 11 runs to set Australia an attainable total to take the opening six points of the series.