Brisbane - England declared with a lead of 296 on the back of a record 329 stand between Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott and had reduced Australia to 11 for one at tea on the final day of the first Ashes Test on Monday.
Cook was unbeaten on a career-high 235 with Jonathan Trott 135 not out when skipper Andrew Strauss declared at 517-1 three quarters of an hour before the break, bringing an end to an astonishing innings and to Australia's suffering in the field.
Simon Katich lasted just 23 minutes before England succeeded where Australia's bowlers had failed all day, the opener caught by Strauss in the slips off the bowling of Stuart Broad for four runs.
Australia captain Ricky Ponting (6) and opener Shane Watson, who had yet to score, will have to face a maximum of 34 more overs.
Although the match looked to be heading for a draw, England will take a huge confidence boost into the next test in Adelaide later this week after saving a match they looked to have lost after Australia's first innings.
Cook and Trott completely dominated the day in front of a sparse crowd at the Gabba, where England supporters were more numerous and louder.
Their partnership was the highest by English batsmen in Australia, beating the 323 achieved by Jack Hobbs and Wilfred Rhodes on the 1911/12 Ashes tour.
The "Barmy Army" were at their noisiest just before lunch when the 25-year-old Cook clipped the ball behind square to become the fourth England player to score an Ashes double century in Australia.
They were back on their feet minutes later when Trott pushed a shot through leg side and scuttled for three runs, leaping into the air in jubilation as he raced to safety and his fourth test century.
Australia's bowlers continued to struggle in the baking sunshine with the one cast-iron chance they had of separating the England batsman before lunch spilled in the slips.
All rounder Watson, the pick of Australia's bowlers, carved out the opportunity when Trott was on 75 but Michael Clarke could not hold on to a simple catch.
Fast bowler Mitchell Johnson's troubles continued as he ended the Test wicketless at the cost of 170 runs.
One wretched delivery to Trott hurtled some three metres wide of the wicket in echoes of England bowler Steve Harmison's first delivery here four years ago that set the tone for England's 5-0 series defeat.