Australia were four wickets down for 53 overnight. England struck few moments later since the start of the day. James Anderson sent back Nathan Lyon (14) and Peter Handscomb (12) to push Australia on backfoot.
The scoring was also slow. Mitchell Starc contributed a 25-ball 20. None other Aussie batsmen scored more than 20, the sixth instance for them at home. First innings centurion Shaun Marsh scored 19 off 60.
Anderson dismissed Starc to pick up his maiden five-wicket haul in Australia, 25th overall. Chris Woakes took four wickets for 36 runs. The Aussies were bundled out for 138 runs in 58 overs. They set England 354 to win.
England openers Alastair Cook and Mark Stoneman put on an impressive 53-run stand. However, Lyon got the better of Cook (16) for the second time in the innings. Stoneman looked solid but fell to Starc scoring 36 off 65 with 6 fours. James Vince (15) became Starc’s second scalp soon.
English captain Joe Root and Dawid Malan gave the visitors the hope. Root brought up his 34th Test fifty in 78 balls and kept England marching towards.
The 78-run stand for the fourth-wicket was broken when Pat Cummins went through Malan’s defence from around the wicket. Malan was gone for 80-ball 29 as Australia were seeking a comeback.
Root and Woakes saw the day off without losing their wickets. England finished the day with 176/4 in 62 overs. They require 178 runs to win while the Aussies need 6 wickets. Root is unbeaten on 67* from 114 deliveries including 9 boundaries. Woakes was promoted up in the order and stayed unbeaten on 5*.
Australia 442/9d and 138 allout in 58 overs (Starc 20, Khawaja 20; Anderson 5/43, Woakes 4/36)
England 227 and 176/4 in 62 overs (Root 67, Stoneman 36; Starc 2/65, Cummins 1/29)
-Ruffin, Correspondent, bdcrictime.com