James Anderson put England's best day of the Ashes series so far down to being "boring and patient" with the ball as Alastair Cook's men left Australia staring at a first-innings deficit in Melbourne.
England looked set for more misery after being reduced from their overnight 226 for six to 255 all out in rapid fashion on the second morning of the fourth Test, but then the tourists fought back in stunning fashion.
Brad Haddin is still unbeaten on 43 and poses a major threat, but England will be hoping to claim a sizeable first-innings advantage when they return on day three.
Asked if he felt it was England's best day of a tour that has already seen them surrender the Ashes after losing the first three Tests, Anderson told Sky Sports 2: "You'd have to say so looking at it.
"Obviously we didn't start as well as we wanted to, we thought we had a chance of getting up to 300 with the bat. But we knew it was a hard wicket to score on and if we bowled well then we might get some reward, and we did."
England's bowlers have managed to get Australia in trouble previously on tour without hammering home their advantage, but this time there was no let-up from the tourists.
Anderson put that down to their disciplined approach at the MCG.
He said: "We just stuck to our plan. There's no demons as such in the pitch, it's just hard to score on.
"We just tried to bang out our areas and be as boring and patient as possible throughout the whole day.
"Maybe in previous games we've got a bit excited and carried away and gone away from our plan, and that's something that we've concentrated on this game."
Looking ahead to day three, the paceman added: "We've got to finish them off first of all, Haddin's been a real pain in our backside all series and he's still there. So we need to finish them off in the morning, then when we bat we've got to be patient."
While it was a rare day of joy for England during the series, it was an unusually poor outing for the Australians with the bat.
Aside from Haddin and opener Chris Rogers, who top-scored with 61, few other batsmen managed to get going as England kept the pressure up.
Rogers admitted it was an off-day for the hosts, but said it was inevitable England would find their form at some stage.
He said: "Very disappointing day. England bowled well and we were probably a bit careless at times. It's the worst day we've had in the series so far, but it happens and England are still a very good side.
"I think it's one of those surfaces that if you bowl in good areas it's hard to score, and to give England credit they bowled very well today."
He added: "We've had one bad day in the series, I think we've been fantastic just about every day.
"It had to happen, England had to fight back strong, so it's up to us to rebound again tomorrow."