(CNN) -- England took a giant stride towards retaining the Ashes after bowling out Australia for a paltry 98 and then establishing a 59-run first innings lead by the close of the first day of the fourth Test in Melbourne.
Australia, sent in to bat after England captain Andrew Strauss won a crucial toss, were dismissed for their lowest score in 133 years of Ashes Tests at the famed MCG.
Pacemen James Anderson and Chris Tremlett took four wickets apiece, with Tim Bresnan, recalled to the England team in place of Steven Finn, chipping in with the other two on a pitch offering early movement.
But it was an abject performance by the home batsmen, brought into sharp focus as England openers Strauss and Alastair Cook had compiled an unbroken stand of 157 by stumps.
With the series level at 1-1, England need a victory to keep hold of cricket's most iconic trophy and have given themselves every opportunity as they hit back after losing heavily in the third Test in Perth.
"We've been good at bouncing back strongly, so we didn't expect anything less, but to do it so emphatically probably wasn't on the cards," Anderson told Sky Sports.
"It's an amazing feeling."
A massive Boxing Day crowd of 84,345 fans turned up at the MCG to see the home side succumb in one ball short of 43 overs, with Michael Clarke top-scoring with 20 and only five batsman reaching double figures.
After the sun came out and batting became easier, Strauss (64 not out) and Cook (80 not out) made the Australian bowling attack look pedestrian, with Perth hero Mitchell Johnson expensive in his six overs.
It completed a miserable day for under pressure Australian captain Ricky Ponting, who batting with a fractured left little finger, failed again as he edged the excellent Tremlett (4-26) to Graeme Swann at second slip for 10.
Anderson (4-44) accounted for Clarke and the prized wicket of Mike Hussey, his first failure of the series, both caught by Prior.
Bresnan, who came in for the rested Finn, also played his part with the wickets of opener Philip Hughes and Brad Haddin, who had played a key role in lower order revivals in Brisbane and Perth.