Ricky Ponting and Matthew Hayden smashed centuries to give Australia a huge lead over West Indies on Saturday and the chance to push for an early victory in the first Test in Brisbane.
When bad light ended play early on the third day at the Gabba, Australia were cruising along at 283 for two, leading by 508 runs and contemplating an overnight declaration.
Ponting followed up his brilliant 149 in the first innings with an unbeaten 104 and the rejuvenated Hayden blasted 118 as the Australians rammed home their advantage.
The pair shared a second-wicket partnership of 187 after Test debutant Mike Hussey was dismissed for 29. Hayden threw his wicket away half an hour before stumps in the pursuit of quick runs, allowing Michael Clarke to make a brisk 14 when play was eventually abandoned.
West Indies set a world record for the best fourth-innings run chase when they made 418 to win their last match against Australia in Antigua in 2003 but their prospects look bleak after they collapsed to 210 all out before lunch.
Glenn McGrath had ripped through the top-order the previous afternoon and Shane Warne promptly mopped up the tail with a masterful display of leg-spin bowling.
Warne dismissed Daren Powell (4), Fidel Edwards (2), Corey Collymore (nought) and Jermaine Lawson (nought) to take four for five in a captivating eight-over spell.
He was at his brilliant best as he tormented the West Indian lower-order by going through his full repertoire of deliveries to finish with figures of five for 48, his 33rd five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
Warne removed Powell with an edged catch to wicketkeeper Adam Gilchrist, bowled Edwards with a wrong-un, got rid of Collymore when he nicked a big leg-break to Clarke and trapped Lawson leg before wicket with a perfectly disguised flipper.
Ponting turned down the chance to enforce the follow-on even though Australia were 225 ahead on first innings to allow his batsmen to build an even bigger lead on a Gabba pitch still perfect for heavy scoring.
Hussey, called in to replace the injured Justin Langer, failed to make the most of his opportunity when he presented Collymore with a straightforward catch off Chris Gayle just a few minutes after the same fielder had dropped an even easier chance.
Hayden and Ponting also had let-offs as the West Indian fielding started to unravel under the constant pressure being applied by the Australians.
Ponting was caught in the slips off a no-ball from Lawson while Hayden was dropped by Marlon Samuels at gully on 54 and both mistakes proved costly.
Hayden, who was almost axed from the team before saving his career with a century in the last Ashes Test, completed his third hundred in as many matches.
He reached the milestone off 140 balls in 199 minutes when he scrambled through for a risky single off Samuels then immediately went on the rampage until he edged a ball from Gayle to Ramnaresh Sarwan at slip.
Ponting brought up his hundred off 155 balls in 187 minutes to join Doug Walters and Greg Chappell as the only Australians to score two centuries in a single Test against West Indies.
Australia 1st innings: 435 (R. Ponting 149; C. Collymore 4-72)
West Indies 1st innings (Overnight: 182-6)
C. Gayle c Gilchrist b McGrath 10
D. Smith b McGrath 88
R. Sarwan c Gilchrist b McGrath 21
B. Lara lbw b Lee 30
S. Chanderpaul c Bracken b Warne 2
M. Samuels c Gilchrist b McGrath 5
D. Ramdin not out 37
D. Powell c Gilchrist b Warne 4
F. Edwards b Warne 2
C. Collymore c Clarke b Warne 0
J. Lawson lbw b Warne 0
Extras (lb-7 nb-3 w-1) 11
Total (all out, 77 overs) 210
Fall of wickets: 1-20, 2-74, 3-134, 4-149, 5-161, 6-174, 7-187, 8-204, 9-210, 10-210.
Bowling: G. McGrath 22-3-72-4, B. Lee 15-4-59-1 (nb-3 w-1), N. Bracken 10-4-23-0, S. Warne 28-9-48-5, M. Clarke 2-1-1-0.
Australia 2nd innings:
M. Hussey c Collymore b Gayle 29
M. Hayden c Sarwan b Gayle 118
R. Ponting not out 104
M. Clarke not out 14
Extras (b-6 lb-3 nb-8 w-1) 18
Total (for 2 wickets, 66 overs) 283
Fall of wickets: 1-71, 2-258
To bat: S. Katich, S. Watson, A. Gilchrist, S. Warne, B. Lee, N. Bracken, G. McGrath.
Bowling: F. Edwards 5-0-27-0, D. Powell 5-1-24-0, J. Lawson 6-0-47-0 (nb-7 w-1), C. Collymore 11-0-56-0, C. Gayle 27-4-74-2, M. Samuels 12-1-46-0 (nb-1)