The run-fest of the first two days extended to centuries for Ian Bell (115) and Jonathan Trott (113 not out) on another fine morning, but was then rudely interrupted by an unexpected England collapse either side of lunch as they conceded a 60-run first-innings deficit.
The hosts then batted out 39 more overs, to the tune of 168 for five declared, so that the inevitable draw could be confirmed at the WACA.
England at least had the opportunity to again assess the merits of their three tall seamers, Boyd Rankin emerging marginally - certainly not head and shoulders - above Chris Tremlett and Steven Finn.
The other obviously undecided position for the first Test in Brisbane is at number six - and after Gary Ballance and Ben Stokes mustered only four runs between them, there was minimal evidence to go on.
Three years ago, England arrived in Perth evidently already sure of their best Test XI and flew on to Adelaide with the confirmation of a heartening victory over strong opposition.
This time, they have faced a relative motley but one able to take the honours by piling up 451 for five declared thanks to five 50s and a century from their top six.
All seemed to be going to plan in England's reply by the time Bell retired out to end his third-wicket stand of 193 with Trott. But England then lost their last seven wickets for 57, Jim Allenby picking up four for 58, as a remarkable run of nine 50s or better from 11 individual innings in this match was replaced by a procession of single-figure scores.
Batsman error, rather than exaggerated deterioration of the pitch or dramatic improvement in the bowling, appeared to be the common denominator as England were bowled out for 391 and then their hosts stumbled to 24 for two before Mitch Marsh (62) and Chris Lynn (61no) dug in.
There was no hint of what was to follow when Bell was in situ.
Then, however, in the space of four overs three more batsmen came and went for the addition of 13 runs.
After Bell reached a chanceless hundred, including 17 fours and two sixes from 153 balls, the time was judged right to give others a chance to see what they could do against the second new ball.
Sadly for Ballance, it was the minimum, as he edged a useful delivery behind from Ryan Duffield to add a golden duck to the zero he made in two balls in his only previous innings for England - in a one-day international against Ireland in Dublin two months ago.
Matt Prior clumped a pull high over the in-field for four before edging a drive behind for Duffield's second wicket in the over.
Stokes managed a boundary too, down the ground off Allenby, who got his revenge when the left-hander became a third consecutive caught-behind departure - edging an attempted cut.
Trott remained a reassuring presence, grinding out his century from exactly 200 balls having hit 10 fours and a collector's-item six - muscled over cow corner off a Michael Beer full toss.
That blow was followed by a broadening of the shoulders from a player rarely associated with clearing the ropes, but then a reversion to type which meant England subsided only slowly as the tail folded to Beer and Allenby.
Home openers Luke Towers and Marcus Harris had set the tone two days ago with a stand of 115. But this time both fell cheaply to Rankin, Towers caught at third slip and Harris lbw playing no shot to one that kept low after hitting a crack.
With Test linchpin James Anderson spared any unnecessary second-innings bowling exertions, change bowlers Finn and Stokes might also each have had an early wicket - but Lynn was dropped on 12 by Rankin diving to his left at mid on off the former and then on 19 by Joe Root high to his right at second slip.
Finn eventually got his second and third wickets of the match, Marsh lbw and Tom Triffitt caught-behind in the same over.
They had come at the cost of 165 runs by then, and when Tremlett struck for the first time - Ashton Turner lbw pushing forward round his pad - he too had three figures in the penultimate column.
- Sports & Recreation
- Jonathan Trott
- Chris Tremlett
- Ian Bell
- Boyd Rankin