Steve Smith fell eight runs short of another Ashes century before England stumbled their way to 96-4 at the close of a thrilling day of Test cricket at Lord's.
Chris Woakes eventually dismissed Smith, plumb lbw as he shouldered arms to an in-swinger, but it was a staggering spell of quick bowling from Jofra Archer to the former Australia captain that captivated the crowd during a mesmerising afternoon session on day four.
Archer topped out at 96.1mph during a fiery eight-over burst, hitting Smith twice, the first coming as the batsman ducked into a bouncer and was smashed on the forearm causing a lengthy delay before Smith was flattened by another rapid bumper after taking a sickening blow just below his left ear.
The Australia No 4 was led off the field for further concussion testing but was cleared and returned after the fall of the next wicket. However, with a potential injury to his arm and the blow to the neck, he appeared understandably flustered when he came back out, leading to his unusual dismissal.
Australia were eventually bowled out for 250, giving England a slender first-innings lead of eight, as Stuart Broad took the final wicket to end with figures of 4-65 before Pat Cummins (2-16) took two in two balls to remove Jason Roy (2) and Joe Root (0) and put the home side under pressure at 9-2.
Two wickets from Peter Siddle (2-19) reduced England to 71-4 but Ben Stokes (16no) and Jos Buttler (10no) dug in and took England's lead up to 104 when bad light stopped play.
England's bowlers started the morning well and in the eighth over of the day, having beaten the bat on a number of occasion, they got their reward as Broad removed Matthew Wade (6), a thick edge flying to Rory Burns, who took a good catch low down at gully.
Archer then challenged Smith as he went through his full arsenal of deliveries in one entertaining over, finding the edge with a knuckle-ball only for it to drop short of second slip, but the Aussie reached his half-century with a hoick to cow corner off Jack Leach shortly before lunch.
His partnership with Tim Paine (23) had grown to 60 before Archer (2-59) removed the Australia captain in the second over after the restart, a back-of-a-length delivery that nipped back, took the inside edge and looped up to Buttler at short leg.
That triggered Archer's blistering spell. Smith had played and missed at a couple in the morning session but had largely appeared untroubled, and as calm and collected as ever at the crease. That changed when he was thumped on the forearm by an Archer bouncer that did not get up as much as he anticipated, and at one stage during the delay that followed, it seemed as though he may be forced to retire hurt.
Soon afterwards he was. He was in clear discomfort and after playing a couple of unconvincing hook shots, Smith was pinned by another nasty bouncer from Archer that caught him flush, just below the ear. He hit the deck immediately and the Australia team doctor decided he needed to leave the pitch to be assessed further.
However, after Woakes (3-61) had Siddle (9) caught behind, Smith came back out and smashed his second ball over midwicket for four. It soon became apparent that he was not at his best after those two blows though and despite getting from 80 to 92, he was undone by Woakes' in-swinger and even as he reviewed the lbw decision, he was walking back to the pavilion.
Leach (1-19) then got his first Ashes wicket when he trapped Nathan Lyon (6) lbw and Broad wrapped up the innings when Cummins (20) gloved behind down the legside.
England began their second innings after tea and were soon in trouble as Roy's leading edge ballooned up for Cummins to take a return catch and Root nicked the next ball behind, bagging the first golden duck of his Test career.
Burns and Joe Denly steadied things for a time but only after the latter was dropped by David Warner at first slip, the third catch in the match to go down off Siddle.
The bowler eventually took matters into his own hands, taking a smart catch off his own bowling to end an important stand of 55 for the third wicket and send Denly (26) on his way.
Burns also had some luck when Australia chose not to review an lbw decision, had they done so Lyon would have had his first wicket and the England opener would have been on his way.
Stokes, promoted to No 5 ahead of Buttler, survived after an almost identical incident against Lyon, the Aussies again left to rue the decision not to review, an over after having edged between the wicketkeeper and slip and then nicking to slip where Warner shelled a tough chance to his left.
The following over Australia did have a fourth wicket though as Siddle got Burns (29) with a beauty, angling it across the left-hander and finding the edge but the away side were unable force another in the final 40 minutes of the day.
Stokes and Buttler have previous, of course, when it comes to getting England out of a tight spot at Lord's and with all results still possible heading into day five, another exciting finish could well be on the cards.
Watch day five of the second Test between England and Australia at Lord's from 10am on Sky Sports The Ashes.