Matthew Hoggard produced a four-wicket haul to halt Australia’s fightback and keep England’s hopes of victory in the second Ashes Test alive.
The Yorkshire seamer struck with the new ball at either end of the third day to leave Australia struggling on 312 for five, still trailing by 239 and 40 runs away from avoiding the follow on.
Hoggard struck twice during an opening nine-over spell to remove Matthew Hayden and Damien Martyn and then dismissed Ricky Ponting and Mike Hussey with the new ball to finish with four for 76.
His efforts made amends for a couple of missed opportunities to remove Australian captain Ponting, who finished on 142, relatively cheaply when he was dropped on 35 and could have been run out on 46.
Resuming on 28 for one, Australia were immediately put under pressure with Hoggard taking two wickets in the first hour to leave them struggling on 65 for three.
Hoggard made the key breakthrough in the fourth over of the day when he tempted opener Hayden into pushing outside off-stump and edging behind without adding to his overnight 12.
He made further inroads 10 overs later when he dismissed Martyn in similar fashion, tempting him into trying to drive outside off-stump and this time he edged low to Ian Bell in the gully.
Hoggard should have claimed a further wicket in his next over when Ponting, who had progressed from his overnight 11 to reach 35, pulled to backward square leg only for Ashley Giles to fumble the catch.
Ponting also survived a close lbw appeal from James Anderson on 45, but was given another reprieve in the next over when he attempted an ambitious single off Andrew Flintoff.
Pushing off the back foot to mid-wicket, he set off for the single but Paul Collingwood ran around and despite aiming at three stumps he missed with the Australian captain stranded.
It was another costly miss with Ponting going on to reach his 33rd century of a remarkable career to stand fourth in the all-time list of century makers behind Sachin Tendulkar (35), Brian Lara (34) and Sunil Gavaskar (34).
Hussey was also given a reprieve after marching almost effortlessly to 70, which included a pulled six over mid-wicket off Steve Harmison, when he survived a close call for a run-out.
Those reprieves allowed them to share a 192-run stand until Ponting edged the sixth delivery with the new ball behind and eight overs later Hussey fell just nine short of his century when he was bowled off a bottom edge trying to withdraw his bat.