Only 24.1 overs were possible on Friday, with two full sessions washed out to add to the three lost to a day-one abandonment, but the home side can still make headway with quick wickets.
Australia will resume on 80 for four, with Steve Smith an ominous presence at the crease following his match-winning centuries in each innings at Edgbaston.
Stuart Broad believes a home win is still on the cards if he and the rest of the attack can wrap up the next six wickets before lunch, meaning the stakes are certain to be high come 11am.
Broad has already taken two in the innings, David Warner and Travis Head, and will be relying on debutant Jofra Archer – who opened his Test account with a tight lbw against Cameron Bancroft – and Chris Woakes for support.
Being back at the home of cricket has had a nostalgic effect on Australia's 54-year-old former captain and team mentor.
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Moment of magic
Bancroft and Usman Khawaja helped Australia double their overnight tally to 60 during a wicketless first nine overs on Friday. England finally made a breakthrough with the fifth ball of the next over as Archer enjoyed a milestone moment. The Barbados-born bowler, bowling at more than 90 miles per hour for the second successive day, smashed the pads of Bancroft. Australia opted for a review but the decision was upheld to give Archer his first wicket at Test level.
Smith soaking up pressure
England fought back with three wickets on Friday morning but, until Steve Smith is out, they will not be able to settle. Smith, whose twin centuries changed the game at Edgbaston, seemed content to soak up the pressure and remained unbeaten on 13 from 40 balls. Archer's first ball to the 30-year-old topped 93 miles per hour, albeit sailing harmlessly a yard outside off stump.
Encouragingly, the Met Office forecasts a dry day on Saturday with sunny intervals and cloudy spells. Sunday is equally positive, meaning the maximum of 98 overs on each day is still theoretically possible.