(CNN) -- England's star batsman Kevin Pietersen struck a vital late blow with his part-time bowling to leave Australia battling to save the second Ashes cricket Test in Adelaide.
Pietersen dismissed Australia vice-captain Michael Clarke with the final ball of Monday's closing session to leave England in a commanding position with a day's play remaining.
Pietersen had earlier hit a Test-best score of 227 with the bat as England declared on 620-5, then the hosts reached 238-4 at stumps in their second innings -- still 137 runs short of making the tourists bat again.
Clarke had ominously returned to form with 80 as he added 104 for the fourth wicket with Mike Hussey before edging a delivery from Pietersen onto his pad and into the hands of Alastair Cook.
He was initially given not out by the umpire, but England referred the decision to the video official -- and replays showed that the batsman had clearly hit the ball.
The 29-year-old issued an apology via social networking site Twitter after he did not depart the field immediately.
"Just want to apologize for not walking off the ground tonight when I hit the ball," Clarke wrote. "I was just so disappointed, my emotions got best of me."
Hussey, who ended the day on 44, revealed that Clarke was upset after the incident.
"He's pretty distraught at the moment, I don't think he's said a word just yet," Hussey told Cricket Australia's website.
"He's very disappointed. It was a real somber way to finish the day for us because we fought pretty hard and it would have been really nice to go in three down. He's pretty shattered at the moment.
"It would have really capped off a great day for him because he played awesome, awesome cricket today. He played the way we have loved watching Michael Clarke play over the last few years. It was great for him to play well."
With bad weather forecast for Tuesday, England captain Andrew Strauss will be hoping rain does not hamper his team's pursuit of a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
England were already 306 runs ahead of their opponents at the start of Monday's morning session, but the 33-year-old elected to keep his team out for nine more overs as they added 69 to their overnight total.
Pietersen scored 14 more runs before falling to spinner Xavier Doherty, who claimed only his third Test wicket to end a 116-run partnership with Ian Bell -- the fourth consecutive century pairing of England's innings.
Bell finished unbeaten on 68 while Matt Prior smashed 27 off 21 balls as England piled on the runs.
Australia openers Shane Watson (57) and Simon Katich (43) showed defiance before spinner Graeme Swann took two of the first three wickets to fall, including that of captain Ricky Ponting for just nine following his first-innings duck.
Swann hailed the impact of Pietersen after the team's regular bowlers struggled to remove Clarke and Hussey, as the South Africa-born player claimed just his fifth wicket in 68 Test matches.
"We toiled hard in the last session and a half with very little luck, so sometimes you need a bit of inspiration," Swann told Sky Sports.
"Who else but KP to come on and give you it? He went straight in and said 'I'm an all-rounder, I'm an all-rounder' and I still think he is in there shouting it now."