In front of a capacity crowd of 24,000 fans, it took less than 60 mins of play to knock over Australia's top four batsmen in what was a performance that could put Ricky Ponting's captaincy at risk with two matches left in the series.
Hughes' return to international cricket has not gone to plan with him out for 2 runs closely followed by Ponting for 12 and vice-captain Clarke for 4. The first hour's play was rounded out with the dismissal of Watson for 13.
And that was just the start. Smith and Hussey were able to add a further 33 runs before Smith was caught off Tremlett for 7.
Australia then settled with Hussey and Haddin adding 58. After the wickets of Hussey and Haddin the tail were able to add a much-needed 131 leaving Australia all out for 268 with over an hour's play left in the afternoon.
Australia's poor performance reeked of a team playing without an ounce of confidence. The wickets of the top order were cheap and were often not the result of strong bowling. Australia's leading batsmen were caught in the slips after pushing wide of off stump to balls that in form batsmen would have let for the keeper.
Much has been said about the Australian pace attack in recent weeks with selectors struggling to come with answers to the English batsmen, but today the team was let down by poor batting.
With the weather tipped to reach 30c tomorrow it will be a long tough day unless Australia's quicks are able to break through early.
Australia will need a miracle early on day two to keep this match in sight and therefore keep the series alive.
The English need only win one of the remaining three matches (or draw the final three matches) to retain the coveted trophy they took from Australia last year on home soil.
Day two of the third Ashes test kicks off from the famous WACA ground in Perth at 10.30am WST.