Stop the presses. Stuart Broad walks and Australia can keep the Ashes alive.

The unthinkable is happening at Old Trafford, although with time against them and quick runs needed, things could have been much better for Australia on day four.

Needing to win the third Test to stay in the series, Australia remained in the hunt by bowling out England for 368 an hour and 20 minutes into the day, to take a 159-run first-innings lead.

Australia made their intentions clear by promoting master-blaster David Warner (12 not out) to open, but partner Chris Rogers was an early victim of the one-day mentality - edging Stuart Broad behind to leave Australia 1-24 at lunch and 183 runs in front.

Usman Khawaja (0 not out) retained his spot at No.3, and it seems a bizarre decision to leave Shane Watson out of the top order, given his strength is bludgeoning boundaries early in the innings.

Time is a major issue for Australia and their best chance at victory seems to be setting England an achievable target in excess of 350 and then getting them back in late in the day.

In an action-packed first hour, England added 74 runs and grafted out nearly 20 valuable overs at the crease, before Peter Siddle (4-63) took two and Nathan Lyon (1-94) one to gobble up the three wickets required.

But the major excitement came when Broad did a backflip of Olympic proportions and walked immediately after edging a ball behind.

At Trent Bridge, Broad smashed Ashton Agar to slip and stood his ground - after the umpire made a howler and didn't give him out.

At Lord's he nicked one and went for DRS.

But at Old Trafford, Broad (32) was on his way well before umpire Tony Hill had even raised his finger for Lyon's first dismissal of the match.

Broad left knowing Australia still had both of their referrals up their sleeve, but still it was an about-face from England's villainous fast bowler.

"Stuart Broad walks now, make up your mind you're either a walker or not ... it makes it worse if you pick and choose!" tweeted former Australian Test player Tom Moody.

England spinner Graeme Swann also walked after nicking Peter Siddle, to give further hope that good spirit still exists in the DRS-morphed world of Test cricket.

Broad and Matt Prior (30) put on 58 for the eighth wicket and then Prior and No.11 James Anderson (3no) hung around at the death for eight overs to soak up valuable minutes in a match that could come down the wire.

Australia are in control, but time could beat them, especially if rain arrives in Manchester.

Warner was sent out to open to another chorus of boos, but started steadily.

If England can be batting again before stumps it leaves Australia more than three sessions to take the 10 wickets required to keep the series alive heading to the fourth Test in Durham.

Mitchell Starc took 3-76 and Ryan Harris finished with 2-82.