Australia inflicted upon England their fourth-highest run-margin Test defeat after claiming an emphatic 405-run victory to level the five-match series at Lord's.
Mitchell Johnson (3-27) was once again the chief-tormentor as England were bowled out for just 103 in their second innings in 37 overs, their lowest Test total for six years.
While everything went wrong for England, Australia produced the perfect response to going behind in the series in Cardiff and head into the third Test at Edgbaston with all the momentum.
Between now and the start of that third match England must stage a rigorous post-mortem and face a host of selection dilemmas over their top order, which has averaged 73 this summer for the first three wickets, and the absence of a front-line spinner.
Yorkshire pair Jonny Barstow and Adil Rashid will be among those players hoping to stake a claim for a place in the team, while Adam Lyth, Gary Ballance and Ian Bell will be sweating over their international futures.
Having dominated for the third day in succession, Australia were requiring quick runs in the morning session ahead of a second declaration, with England already facing the prospect of chasing the highest score to win a Test at Lord's.
Only early wickets would hold up Australia's surge towards a daunting lead the unbeaten overnight pair of Chris Rogers and David Warner was broken at the end of the second over, but in concerning circumstances.
Rogers, without warning, sunk to his knees on the outfield and was forced to retire hurt on 49 after being helped from the field by Australia's medical team.
The first innings centurion was hit on the helmet by a James Anderson bouncer on day two before going on to make 173. The 37-year-old, who plans to retire at the end of the series, missed the tour of West Indies with a concussion after being struck in the nets.
Warner meanwhile continued the punishment and went to 83 before his aggressiveness got the better of him as he smashed Moeen Ali straight to Alastair Cook at extra cover.
The wicket worked as only temporary respite for England as Steve Smith attempted to push Australia towards a lead in excess of 500 with a string of punishing strokes down the ground, with Ali the primary victim.
Smith (58) went to his half century in 43 balls and looked set to follow his first innings double century with another heavy score until he was bowled by Ali, with the manner of the dismissal suggesting a declaration was imminent.
And Michael Clarke (32 not out) eventually ended England's misery when after two big sixes down the ground from Mitchell Marsh (27 not out) he declared on 254 for 2, leaving them 155 overs to grind out a draw, and setting a world record 509-run target to complete an unlikely win.
Lyth (7) and Cook negotiated the three overs behind lunch, but just nine balls after the break Australia had their first wicket as the former tickled an edge behind off Mitchell Starc to Peter Nevill for just seven.
Cook (11) had anchored England's chastening first innings but he succumbed to the increased pressure when he played a lax stroke while following a wide Johnson delivery which was taken by Nevill behind the stumps.
Marsh's introduction in the first over after the drinks break brought with it a third wicket as the nervy Ballance (14) couldn't resist glancing the ball behind.
As England's top order frailties were exposed once again, Bell (11) almost followed but Adam Voges failed to hold onto an edge behind but the Warwickshire right-hander was out two overs later as Nathan Lyon claimed his second wicket of the match with a regulation bat-pad dismissal.
If Australia's pressure around the bat had forced the flurry of early wickets, then England's own sluggishness let to the fifth wicket before tea when Ben Stokes (0) was run out by a brilliant throw from Johnson as the Durham man failed to run his bat in.
The manner of the dismissal which worked to define a lacklustre England performance made a heavy Australian victory an inevitability; the only question remaining over how long it would take to clean up the hosts' innings.
And in the end it took Australia less than 45 minutes to complete victory and level the series. Buttler (11) last just one ball after the tea interval when he fended at the ball and only found the gloves of Nevill off Johnson and in the same over Ali (0) ducked a bouncer which was snaffled at short leg by substitute Shaun Marsh.
Stuart Broad (25) gave the capacity crowd something to shout about with a spate of boundaries but he was eventually out as he slapped Lyon straight to Voges at cover.
Joe Root (17) soon followed as he was bowled by Josh Halzewood and the innings came to its conclusion when the seamer returned for his next over as he clean bowled James Anderson (0) as Australia completed a huge win as England suffered a harrowing loss.