England 9 for 491 (Cook 244*, Root 61, Broad 56, Hazlewood 3-95, Lyon 3-109, Cummins 3-117) lead Australia 327 (Warner 103, Smith 76, S Marsh 61, Broad 4-51, Anderson 3-61) by 164 runs
Melbourne: Alastair Cook made the highest score by a visiting batsman at the MCG to give England firm control of the Boxing Day Test on Thrusday.
Cook scored 244 not out, beating the 208 of West Indies legend Sir Viv Richards, as the tourists punished Australia on the third evening of the fourth Ashes Test.
At six for 307, England were in danger of surrendering the initiative, but Cook added 59 with Chris Woakes (26), before a riotous partnership of 100 with Stuart Broad, who swung his way to 56.
In the end, Cook's third-highest Test score had led England to 9-491, a lead of 164.
On an unresponsive surface, Australia missed injured pace bowler Mitchell Starc but they also created their own problems.
Cook was dropped on 153 by home captain Steve Smith, the same man who offered the former England skipper a reprieve on 66 on day two. Woakes also edged between Smith and wicketkeeper Tim Paine on 13.
But that is to take nothing away from England, who have put in a spirited response to surrendering the Ashes after three Tests.
They have an outstanding opportunity to end an eight-match losing streak in Australia and avoid a second successive 5-0 whitewash down under.