England slumped to 24-2 in pursuit of a victory target of 561 after centuries from David Warner and Michael Clarke allowed Australia to declare their second innings late on day three of the Ashes opener at The Gabba.
Opener Warner hit 124 while skipper Clarke made 113, the third-wicket pair putting on 158 after England had taken two early wickets in the morning session.
Brad Haddin added his second half-century of the match, 53, as Australia chased quick runs after tea before the declaration came at 401-7.
That left just over an hour for England to bat and they lost Michael Carberry (0) and Jonathan Trott (9) to leave themselves in a deep hole with two days remaining.
Carberry was bowled via a text-book backward defence for a 14-ball duck, the delivery from Ryan Harris (1-7) going off the face of the bat and between the opener's legs.
Johnson (1-7) had been set to take a rest after failing to find his rhythm in the first two overs but the arrival of Trott - who he had bounced out in the first innings and troubled throughout the one-day series in England earlier in the year - earned him an extended spell.
Trott appeared intent on taking on anything short from Johnson, of which there was plenty.
He did manage to pull one four off Johnson but the left-arm seamer soon had his revenge when Trott picked out Nathan Lyon at deep square-leg with a well-timed flick.
Kevin Pietersen (3no) almost ran out Alastair Cook (11no) with his traditional early push-and-run single but the England captain just made his ground with a full-length dive and the third-wicket pair survived through to the close.
Already trailing by 224 at the start of play, England actually made a decent start with a controlled spell of seam bowling in the opening 55 minutes before a brief break for rain.
Stuart Broad (2-55) and Chris Tremlett removed Chris Rogers (16) and Shane Watson (6) to reduce Australia from an overnight 65-0 to 75-2 in their second innings.
But England's window of opportunity was soon shut by Warner and Clarke, who chose to fight fire with fire when England attacked him with the short ball, twice pulling away boundaries to get off to a fast start - and from then on he maintained the impetus to cruise through to three figures from 115 balls.
However it was Warner who was the first to bring up his ton, the opener reaching three figures for the fourth time in Test cricket and the first against England. It came up with three runs against Joe Root, the very same player who the New South Welshman had clashed with at the start of the English summer this year.
The left-hander cracked 13 boundaries and a glorious straight six off Broad before getting out to the same bowler in rather tame fashion, feathering an edge through to wicketkeeper Matt Prior.
Steven Smith was dismissed in a similar manner by Tremlett before he'd troubled the scorers, but debutant George Bailey helped add a further 52 alongside his Test skipper.
Clarke eventually perished when he aimed one too many to leg off Graeme Swann (2-135) and was bowled.
It meant England's spinner finally had a wicket after coming in for some heavy punishment since lunch and he added a second in the shape of Bailey after tea.
But Haddin kept the runs coming after tea alongside Johnson (39no) before becoming a third wicket for Tremlett, who finished with figures of 3-69 from 17 overs.
Watch highlights of today's play on Sky Sports 2 and On Demand from 6.30pm before The Ashes Verdict (9pm) and Ashes Extra (11pm) hit your screens ahead of coverage of day four, from 11.30pm - also on Sky Sports 2.