Tim Paine’s 111 set the tone for a comprehensive Australia victory as England failed to open their account at the sixth time of asking at Trent Bridge.
Victory at Durham on Sunday will give the tourists a 7-0 series whitewash and lacklustre batting from England firmly suggested that they will struggle to avoid it.
Chasing 296, England slipped to 107-5 after 25 overs although Andrew Strauss’s second ball duck was more than contentious as replays showed Brett Lee’s delivery struck him on the shoulder.
Matt Prior and Ravi Bopara were run out within three balls after sublime direct hits from Ricky Ponting who was one of six Australian batsman to register single figures.
Mike Hussey’s 65, a 38 from James Hopes and 35 from Cameron White gave impetus to Australia. A 25 from opener Joe Denly was never going to be enough to underpin the innings and Tim Bresnan's unbeaten 31 was admirable but ultimately insignificant.