England must survive five sessions if they’re to deny Australia a series-levelling victory in the second Ashes Test.
The tourists added 146 runs in an entertaining and enterprising session of batting on day four, with Michael Clarke declaring at 2-254 shortly before lunch at Lord’s.
Alastair Cook and Adam Lyth survived three overs after Clarke pulled the pin and set England a target of 509.
The first dot ball was cheered by the Lord’s faithful, with victory the most unlikely of scenarios for the hosts.
“We spoke briefly in the changeroom … we’ve got to get our heads around that we’re probably going to have to bat for about 150 overs to try and save the game,” Ben Stokes said after day three.
“If there’s ever a wicket to do it on, it’s this one.
“There’s not too much pace and not too much turn.
“I probably only need one word to describe it: flat.”
The highest fourth-innings Test total at Lord’s is Australia’s 406 in 2009, while the West Indies’ 1-344 in 1984 is the highest successful chase.
Australia resumed at 0-108 on Sunday, with Clarke, David Warner, Steve Smith and Mitch Marsh all scoring freely and quickly.
The only concern was veteran opener Chris Rogers, who retired hurt due to a sudden bout of dizziness.
Rogers remained on the Lord’s balcony when England started their second innings, having changed out of his whites.
Adam Voges, who was unable to field on day three due to a hip injury, was, however, back on the park.
Warner could have had his name on the Lord’s honours board, but adopted a team-first approach as Australia upped their run-rate.
The pugnacious opener fell for 83, smacking a ball from Moeen Ali to Cook at extra cover.
Smith added 58 runs in 48 balls with some astonishing strokes and fancy footwork.
The highlight was three consecutive fours off Stuart Broad, with all three coming from unconventional shots.
Marsh got in on the act with a couple of sixes off Ali, while Clarke scored a quick-fire 32.