James Anderson and Chris Woakes took two late wickets apiece to reduce Australia to 53-4 in their second innings and give England some hope of salvaging something from the second Test at the Adelaide Oval.
Earlier in the day, Australia looked in full control when Craig Overton was left stranded nine runs short of a half-century in his maiden Test innings as the tourists were bowled out for 227 – 16 runs short of the follow-on and a first-innings deficit of 215.
However, Steve Smith chose not to make England bat again and the move somewhat backfired as Anderson (11-7-16-2) removed Cameron Bancroft (4) and Usman Khawaja (20) in a brilliant spell of swing bowling.
Woakes (2-13) then picked up the big wickets of David Warner (14) and Smith (6), but Australia, who remain in control of the Test, avoided any further setbacks as Peter Hadscomb (3no) and nightwatchman Nathan Lyon (3no) saw them through to stumps on day three with a lead of 268 and six second innings wickets remaining.
England’s plans of getting first-innings parity with Australia were dealt an early blow when James Vince (2) was dismissed in the first full over of the day. After adding just two to his overnight score, England’s no. 3 was caught-behind by Tim Paine trying to drive Josh Hazlewood through the covers off the back foot.
Joe Root was the next to go for 9, miscuing an expansive drive off Pat Cummins to Bancroft at third slip and when Alastair Cook (37) guided a turning Lyon delivery to Smith at slip, England faced a mighty battle to avoid going 2-0 down in the series with three to play.
Dawid Malan (19) also went before the tea break, from an inside-edge behind to the first ball of a new spell from Cummins, while Moeen Ali (25) and Jonny Bairstow (21) both succumbed to one-handed catches from Lyon and Mitchell Starc – both of which came of their own bowling – early in the evening session.
At 142-7, 101 runs short of the follow-on, Overton and Woakes overcame a bouncer barrage to provide some belated resistance as England tried to halt Australia’s momentum.
The pair dug in to produce a partnership of 66 – the highest of England’s innings – before Woakes top-edged a simple return catch to Starc (3-49) on 36.
Overton eventually ran out of partners as Lyon picked up the wickets of Stuart Broad (3) and Anderson (0) straight after the dinner break to finish with figures of 4-60 as England were bowled out short of the follow-on mark.
However, Smith resisted the temptation to put England back in under the lights, and it was a questionable move as England finally got the pink ball to talk.
Anderson drew an edge from Bancroft which was snaffled by Bairstow before trapping Khawaja in front, and he thought he had picked up the key wicket of Smith only to see an lbw decision overturned after the Aussie skipper was originally given out.
Warner was next to go though, edging Woakes behind to Root at second slip before Smith finally departed for six.
The Australian captain was given out after being struck on the pad by Woakes, and this time he was on his way back to the pavilion after an unsuccessful review.
With the pink ball moving more than at any other time in the game, England targeted more wickets but Handscomb and Lyon saw Australia through to the close of what was a dramatic day’s play.