Two wickets apiece from Stuart Broad and Jofra Archer gave England a glimmer of hope but Steve Smith was unbeaten at tea with Australia building a substantial lead on day four of the fourth Ashes Test.
Australia bowled England out for 301 after lunch to take a first-innings lead of 196, Mitchell Starc (3-80) and Pat Cummins (3-60) doing the damage on Saturday.
The magnificent Broad and Archer gave England a chance with brilliant new-ball spells, reducing the tourists to 44-4.
Broad removed David Warner for a third consecutive duck – the sixth time he has dismissed the opener in the series – with the sun out at a raucous Old Trafford.
First-innings double-centurion Smith was still there at the end of a captivating afternoon session, though, with Australia 63-4, leading by 259 runs and firmly on course for a win that would enable them to keep the urn.
In the morning, Starc cleaned up Jonny Bairstow with the second new ball before claiming the big scalp of Ben Stokes, who edged to Smith at second slip.
Archer and Broad departed either side of lunch and England would have been all out if Australia had any reviews left when Starc trapped Jack Leach in front, only for Marais Erasmus to keep his finger down.
Jos Buttler saved the follow-on by driving Starc for his seventh boundary but Cummins bowled him for 41 – his highest score of the series – to end the innings.
A fired-up Broad then came steaming in to get the crowd rocking, dismissing Warner yet again lbw and getting Harris in the same fashion – the latter wasting a review.
Archer cranked up the pace to get in on the act, first removing the in-form Marnus Labuschagne – courtesy of another lbw verdict – and then castling Travis Head’s middle stump.
WHAT A BALL!!
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) September 7, 2019
Smith was troubled by Broad, but he hung in there once again and was unbeaten along with Matthew Wade at the end of the afternoon session, with Stokes not bowling after hurting his shoulder on day two.