There is still some work to be done, but the Aussies are in with a shout needing 137 runs with four wickets remaining and Brad Haddin and the newly-promoted Ashton Agar at the crease. It will mean a record chase for Trent Bridge and there are no recognised batsmen left.
Where we stand
Needing some inspiration, the Aussies instead began the day ducking for cover thanks to an exuberant Mitchell Starc. Starc's opening delivery slipped out of his hand and flew through the slips cordon on the full, stirring memories of Steve Harmison's bonkers ball to open the 2006/07 Ashes series. Ian Bell carved a full toss for four in the same over and in the next Michael Clarke and Shane Watson spectated as a thick Stuart Broad edge flew between them in the slips and to the boundary rope. It was, shall we say, an inauspicious start.
But James Pattinson got the breakthrough soon enough, dismissing Broad for 65 and sparking a mini-collapse that would bring England's innings to a close at 375, a lead of 310 runs. The fourth innings began with such promise for the Aussies. Openers Watson and Chris Rogers saw off the new ball with aplomb and ticked along at 3.5 runs per over until Broad trapped Watson LBW four runs short of a half-century. Rogers brought up his first Test 50 shortly before tea but Joe Root struck a huge blow for the visitors shortly after, dismissing Ed Cowan for 14. The match really tilted England's way in the final hour when they claimed the wickets of Michael Clarke, Steve Smith and Phil Hughes within the space of 17 balls.
Quick Single: Edgbaston deja vu
"Amazing that Aleem Dar could pick up the faintest of edges from Michael Clarke, after missing the Stuart broad dismissal.
Four things we learned
1. Chris Rogers is one cool customer. The 35-year-old looked settled and sharp from the get-go in Australia's second innings, betraying not an ounce of nerves as he faced new-ball partners James Anderson and Broad. He also unveiled some eye-catching stroke play as the innings progressed, including a cover drive that would make Mike Hussey blush.
2. England forgot to doctor the outfield. The Trent Bridge pitch may have been served up to suit Graeme Swann but the Aussies found the quick outfield much to their liking as they chased down the runs on day four. Allan Border called it during the drinks' break, noting that openers Watson and Rogers were getting full value for their shots. Rogers, in particular, was rewarded time and again for patient batting, waiting for the ball to come to him and placing it delicately between fielders.
3. Joe Root is proving a better bowler than a batsman. Ashton Agar may have him covered as the first Test's unlikely all-rounder, but Root encouraged the out-of-sorts Ed Cowan into a drive with an off-spinner that turned out of the rough and took the edge to first slip, giving him his first Test wicket. There may yet be more to come this series.
4. Whoever is doing Graeme Swann's laundry needs to lay off the starch. Imagine trying to play a Test match with your collar permanently popped.
Hero of the day
CHRIS ROGERS/SHANE WATSON
Australia's new opening partnership failed to get the job done in the first innings, but they showed more this time around and it could yet be a pairing that works long term. Not only does the left-right combination return things to an order that traditionally works in Test matches, but he pair opposing styles mean that they will present a constant threat to bowlers. Watson takes up the job of chief attacker, while Rogers is the man who stays cool in a crisis and can be relied upon to put a value on his wicket.
Moments that mattered
1. BROAD GETS HIS COMEUPPANCE. It was important to the psyche of the Australians that they dismissed Stuart Broad early on day four, so it was a welcome relief when James Pattinson caught the edge of the non-walker's bat in the eighth over of the day. Broad added 18 runs to his overnight total before losing his wicket, which triggered a collapse of 3-19 to end England's innings.
2. WATSON'S WICKET LIFTS SPIRITS. The Aussie openers had taken the sting out of England's attack (and their crowd) with a mostly chanceless start to the second innings, until Watson fell victim to a Broad inswinger immediately after the drinks break. He reviewed the LBW decision to no avail, with Hawk-Eye helpfully suggesting that the ball would've grazed the leg stump. The dismissal pegged back the Aussies at 1-84, brought the Barmy Army to full voice and swung momentum back in England's favour.
3. ROGERS CHALLENGES...SUCCESSFULLY. Chris Rogers' knock nearly came to an end on 38 when he was given out caught behind off Swann. The opener immediately called for the review, knowing full well he had only gotten pad on the ball, then endured a tense wait while being cleared of both the catch AND an LBW dismissal by third umpire Marais Erasmus.
4. CLARKE GETS ANOTHER DRS REVIEW WRONG. Michael Clarke must have been trying to heap the pressure on Dar, who had already checked with the umpire at square leg to make sure the catch had carried before giving Clarke out caught behind. It turned out to be another wasted review as Hot Spot showed the slightest of nicks confirming the wicket. With the Aussie captain back in the sheds, the Poms enter the final day much more confident.
Caught our eye
Ed Cowan bats like a toddler on No-Doz. He's a bundle of energy at the crease, his movements exaggerated, his equipment fidgeted with. It's downright excruciating to watch. His 16-ball wait to get off the mark and off a pair was easily the most agonising viewing of the day, and even a dam-bursting slashed boundary off Steven Finn failed to calm his misfiring nerves. When a loose drive brought about his end just before the tea break it felt like the moment had been coming for some time. Will he be handed a reprieve for the second Test at Lord's?
Soundtrack of the day
"Don't Stop Believin'" - Journey.
Hold on to that feeling, Aussies.
The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Cricket Australia
First Posted 14 July, 2013 6:55AM AEST