Pat Cummins dented England’s hopes of keeping the Ashes alive by dismissing Ben Stokes and Jason Roy before lunch on day five of the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
England – who are aiming to bat out the final day of a Test to earn a draw for the first time since 2013 in New Zealand – progressed from their overnight 18-2 to 66-2 through Roy (31) and Joe Denly (48no).
But Cummins then castled Roy through the gate to end a third-wicket stand of 66 and soon had Stokes – whose heroics two weeks ago had denied Australia an Ashes-sealing win at Headingley – caught for one.
Stokes walked after gloving Cummins, who has now moved on to 24 wickets for the series and taken his side closer to retaining the urn – England are 87-4 at the break, with Jonny Bairstow (2no) alongside Denly.
Should Australia take the final six wickets and move 2-1 up with one to play, they will become the first touring side to leave England as Ashes holders since the Steve Waugh-captained team of 2001.
Cummins had started the victory push on Saturday evening, reducing England to 0-2 four balls into their innings when he dislodged Rory Burns and Joe Root for ducks from successive deliveries.
Watch continued live coverage from day five of the fourth Ashes Test on Sky Sports The Ashes and Sky Sports Main Event.