England grabbed four Australian wickets to press closer to an Ashes-series levelling victory on day three of the fourth test at Old Trafford on Friday.
After posting a rapid-fire 592 for a massive first-innings lead of 275, England extended its domination when Australia was reduced to 113-4 in its second innings by stumps.
Mark Wood's hostile pace and timely insertions into the attack made the difference as he dismissed Usman Khawaja, Steve Smith and Travis Head cheaply to pass 100 test wickets, and Chris Woakes bagged David Warner.
England forced the pace of its innings at 5.5 runs per over ahead of forecasted bad weather this weekend.
Jonny Bairstow smashed an unbeaten 99, most of it in a last-wicket partnership of 66 with James Anderson, who contributed 5.
The 592, built on Zac Crawley's blast of 189, was England's highest home Ashes score since 1985 and might be enough for a win if there are enough breaks in the expected rain.
England must win to force the series to a decider at the Oval next week.
Australia, up 2-1, will retain the urn with an unlikely win or more possible draw thanks to the weather.
After demoralising the Australians by batting for 107 overs and making them need 276 runs just to make England bat again, the home side prised out Khawaja before tea in Wood's first over. After easily handling Anderson and Moeen Ali, Khawaja was taken aback by Wood's pace and nicked behind on 18.
Warner chopped on out of the blue against Woakes on 28. Smith seemed to settle with Labuschagne but when Wood came back for a third spell and only his fourth over, Smith was hurried to nick a leg-side bouncer straight behind. Wood celebrated his 100th career wicket. He got 101 soon after when Head on 1 tried to defend Wood and deflected to Ben Duckett at deep gully. Wood had 3-15 from 31 balls.
Marnus Labuschagne reached stumps on 44 and Mitch Marsh was with him on 1. But Australia was four down and England had all the momentum from a two-day batting blitz. Bairstow was left high and dry on 99 not out from just 81 balls. He has had an eventful series — a self-inflicted stumping at Lord's, costly wicketkeeping errors and tussling with a Just Stop Oil protester — but put himself in the thick of things for all the right reasons with an outstanding innings. England was 67 ahead overnight and 120 in front when he arrived at the crease, but his dominant strokeplay piled on the misery for the Australians.
Despite a ring of boundary riders trying to shut him down, he hammered four sixes and 10 fours. Bairstow's controlled aggression was deserving of a hundred but, after expertly managing the strike for the majority of his time with the tail, he found himself stuck at the non-striker's end after deciding against a risky second run that could have got him there.
Last man, Anderson was trapped lbw by Cameron Green's next ball, stopping Bairstow in his tracks and making him just the second Ashes batter to finish undefeated on 99, after Steve Waugh in 1995. Bairstow grinned broadly as he left the pitch and was afforded a centurion's ovation.
He described criticism of his displays in a comeback from a broken leg and dislocated ankle as “out of order.”
“I've not played in 10 months and not kept properly in three years. The two combined is going to be challenging,” he said.
“When there are nine pins, a six-inch plate a while ago through your ankle . . . to be 10 months post-operation when you were told you might not walk properly again, never mind run again, I'm immensely proud of the determination I've shown and commitment to get back to this level of sport so quickly.
"I got 80-odd in the first test and then it's only been two games — a drag on and dismissal at Lord's that was an interesting one. It's been a rollercoaster, a typical Ashes series.”
Mitchell Starc and Josh Hazlewood were on the receiving end of muscular sixes thrashed into the leg-side, but Bairstow would have taken most satisfaction from the pair of furious blows off Australia captain Pat Cummins.
Cummins, who has looked bereft of energy and inspiration this week, ended up with figures of 1-129, the worst of his career. England's day started in typically lively fashion, with a morning session that added 122 runs and four wickets to the scoreboard in just 24 overs.
There were half-centuries for Ben Stokes (51) and Harry Brook (61), and some success for Josh Hazlewood, who finished with 5-126 amid the carnage. Australia would have hoped to have started batting soon after lunch but Bairstow and Anderson, playing his last Ashes test on his home ground, delayed that hope in style.
“We're behind quite a fair way but still two more days to go to show some fight,” Hazlewood said. “Rain's forecast but cricketers know that the weather can change so we're just looking to do our best and claw back into this game.”