Chasing 531 to win, England will resume on Monday at Adelaide Oval on 6-247 as Australia push for a two-nil advantage in the five-match series.
Matt Prior is 31 not out with Stuart Broad on 22 after a tense and physical day's play in which England broke through the 200 barrier for the first time in the series.
No.3 Joe Root top-scored with 87 while Peter Siddle has been the pick of Australia's bowlers with 2-21 off 13 overs.
Australia declared on their overnight score of 3-132.
England trailed by 398 runs on the first innings after they were bowled out for 172.
Tearaway quick Mitchell Johnson claimed his eighth victim of the match when Alastair Cook was caught at deep backward square leg for one in the second over of the innings.
Siddle removed Michael Carberry (14), who was also caught on the leg-side boundary.
Pace warrior Siddle claimed Pietersen's wicket for the second time in the match and the ninth time in his career, as the tall right-hander inside-edged onto his stumps at 3-131.
Pietersen's 99-ball innings of 53 included two fours and three sixes and was a more patient knock than his four in the first dig, when he arrogantly tried to clip a ball through short mid-wicket on the charge with two fielders placed there for the shot.
Root and Pietersen added 111 for the third wicket.
England lost their other star batsman just 12 runs later when Ian Bell on six belted a full toss from legspinner Steve Smith to mid-on.
England's hopes rested with Root.
The 22-year-old battled hard for almost four-and-a-half hours before Nathan Lyon broke through at 5-171.
Debutant Ben Stokes bumped shoulders with Johnson while attempting a single in the 84th over and the pair exchanged views.
Stokes on 28 fell next over when he was caught at second slip to Ryan Harris.
Broad and Stokes shared an unbroken 37-run stand for the seventh wicket amid much chat between Broad and Johnson which continued as the players walked off the field at stumps.
It was an ugly look for the game.
Rain and a possible morning storm are forecast for Monday in Adelaide with a top of 20 degrees.
AUSTRALIA FIRST INNINGS 9(dec)-570
ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS 172
AUSTRALIA SECOND INNINGS 3(dec)-132
ENGLAND FIRST INNINGS
A COOK c Harris b Johnson 1 (7)
M CARBERRY c Lyon b Siddle 14 (39)
J ROOT c Haddin b Lyon 87 (194)
K PIETERSEN b Siddle 53 (99)
I BELL c Johnson b Smith 6 (19)
B STOKES c Clarke b Harris 28 (90)
M PRIOR not out 31 (70)
S BROAD not out 22 (23)
Sundries (1lb 3w 1nb) 5
Six wickets for 247
Fall: 1 (Cook), 20 (Carberry), 131 (Pietersen), 143 (Bell), 171 (Root), 210 (Stokes).
Bowling: R Harris 17-3-45-1 (2w 1nb), M Johnson 21-8-53-1 (1w), P Siddle 13-4-21-2, N Lyon 26-7-78-1, S Watson 6-3-6-0, S Smith 7-0-43-1.
Batting time: 387 mins. Overs: 90.
Umpires: Marais Erasmus (RSA), Kumar Dharmasena (SRL).