Bad light followed by rain forced play to be called off with about 30 overs remaining on Day 3 at Old Trafford in Manchester, hurting Australia's chances of winning this game and forcing their way back into contention in the Ashes. Australia bowled England out for 368 in their first innings earlier in the day, and then stumbled their way to 172-7 before the poor light conditions forced players to go back to the pavilion at about 4:25 pm local time, much to chagrin of Australian skipper Michael Clarke, who argued vehemently that as the batting side, he deserved the right to partake in the decision. It all proved to be for nothing though as rain followed soon after, earning England a massive reprive in the third Ashes test.
Earlier in the day, England managed to add 74 runs to their overnight total of 294-7. Wicket-keeper Matt Prior and pacer Stuart Broad resumed their innings after grinding out long and hard in the final session of play on Day 3. The two lower-order batsmen soon found their stride on Day 4, however, as boundaries came from both their bats, as England got off to a good start. Stuart Broad gave the Manchester crowd good reason to cheer, as he struck three boundaries off one Ryan Harris over and helped England avoid the follow-on. Broad's useful innings of 32 soon came to an end in the very next over as Nathan Lyon got him to edge one through to wicket-keeper Brad Haddin. Broad scored 32 off 66 balls, and his dismissal saw Graeme Swann walk out to bat at number 10.