Steve Smith and Jofra Archer renewed their running battle during an eventful start to day two of the fifth Ashes Test at the Oval, where David Warner's woeful series continued.
Smith was 14 not out at lunch on Friday, having guided Australia to 2-55 after Mitch Marsh's maiden five-wicket haul helped roll England for 294.
The contest within a contest between Smith and Archer has been captivating throughout the series and the latest edition didn't disappoint.
Smith was summoned to the middle at 2-14 after openers Warner and Marcus Harris both fell to Archer during the express paceman's seven-over opening spell.
Archer, having terrorised the world's top-ranked batsman with a bouncer barrage and struck a frightening blow to his neck at Lord's, predictably welcomed Smith to the crease with a bouncer.
Australia's best batsman since Don Bradman ducked under the ball with ease but the fired-up fast bowler continued to throw everything he had at Smith, even the ball.
Archer hurled the ball, defended back to him by Smith, at the pitch while seemingly attempting to have a ping at stumps. The batsman never left his crease.
Smith was unflustered as he attempted to rebuild alongside Marnus Labuschagne, as was the case in Australia's first innings at Old Trafford.
Labuschagne had a more streaky start to his knock but was 32 not out at the break.
Labuschagne was on 15 when a thick edge flew past an outstretched Ben Stokes, while replays suggested he could have been out on two had England reviewed.
Jonny Bairstow and teammates hardly appealed after Labuschagne attempted to pull a leg-side loosener from Stuart Broad but the snickometer registered a noise.
Warner's dismissal on five will ensure the accuracy of technology and its use in the Decision Review System (DRS) will once again be in the headlines.
Warner was given his marching orders by third umpire Ruchira Palliyaguruge after Joe Root referred a caught-behind shout.
There was a suggestion the spike, seemingly coming after ball had passed bat, may have come from Warner's shoe scraping the pitch.
Nonetheless, Warner set an unwanted record in becoming the first opener to post eight single-figure scores in a series.
Harris, who has logged scores of eight, 19, 13, six and three since replacing Cameron Bancroft at the top of the order, was also unable to dig in.
Earlier on Friday, teammates rushed to Marsh after the allrounder ended England's innings with the wicket of stubborn tailender Jack Leach.
Marsh, recalled alongside Peter Siddle at the Oval as Australia hunt their first Ashes series win in England since 2001, finished with remarkable figures of 5-46 from 18.2 overs.
Jos Buttler threatened to belt England past 300 but fell on 70 in Pat Cummins' third over of the day.
Australian Associated Press