England captain Joe Root and opener Rory Burns manned the crease for over four hours as they made a vital partnership of 141 in response to Australia's 497-8 declared.
Yet three wickets from Josh Hazlewood in the final ten overs of play ensured an Australian victory was the most likely outcome, despite a spell of rain washing out the morning session on day three.
Resilient Root and Burns
It took just nine deliveries for the first wicket of the day to fall when the action finally resumed at 1:30pm. Nightwatchman Craig Overton edging to Steve Smith at slip off the bowling of Hazlewood.
Yet Root set about putting together a captain's innings, dropping anchor as he did at a crucial time during his second stint at Headingley. Joining the in-form Burns, the pair looked to defend well before gradually playing themselves in on a good batting track.
Whilst Root nudged and nurdled down to third man, Burns found a rhythm of ducking the short balls, defending the straight ones and putting away anything slightly off target. Australia's man of the moment, Smith, had criticised the English attack for bowling too short to him but Australia could be bemoaned for the same approach with Burns.
The opener eased his way to 50 as the outcome of England saving the Test became just as likely as the visitors retaining the urn. However, a vicious spell from Pat Cummins in and around Root reaching his half-century suggested a wicket could be on its way...
Twice Root edged inches beyond the slips and Australia had an LBW review waved away. However, the accurate Hazlewood was able to build upon the element of concern, taking the edge of Burns as Smith held on to send him walking for 81.
As early as Hazlewood's next over, Root found himself following Burns back upstairs after being trapped LBW for 71. All of a sudden, England found themselves with two new batsman at the crease.
Jason Roy tried to play positive in typical fashion but a delightful delivery from Hazlewood knocked out his middle stump for just 22. The pace bowler would end the day with figures of 4-48.
Yet there was controversy to come as the umpires appeared to ask Tim Paine to bowl his spin options if he wanted to remain out under fading light. However, just as Marnus Labuschagne warmed up for his part-time leg spin, the umpires took a light reading and ended the days play, much to Paine's dismay.
It leaves England still 297 runs short of Australia's total and requiring another 98 to avoid the follow-on. Ben Stokes could do with another big innings...