Matthew Hoggard hailed fellow destroyer Andrew Flintoff's Herculean effort as England bowled themselves to the verge of Ashes glory with the help of the London weather.
Flintoff had called for every ounce of energy as Australia resumed on 277 for two in gloomy conditions at the Oval and proceeded to give just that in taking only his second five-wicket haul in Test cricket.
The Lancashire all-rounder sent down 14.2 overs in succession to finish with five for 78 while Yorkshire's Hoggard joined in with a spell of four for four from the Vauxhall end either side of lunch as Australia lost their last seven wickets for only 44 runs.
Having already become only the second player in history behind Ian Botham to take 20 wickets and score 300 runs in a series against the Australians, Flintoff raised his tally of victims to 24.
It put England, who reached the close 40 runs to the good with nine wickets in hand after bad light wiped out the majority of the final two sessions, within one good day's batting of a first series win over the old enemy since 1986-87.
"He bowled a magnificent spell," said Hoggard, of Flintoff. "The team-talk today was that we had only one bowling day left and that might mean 98 overs but thankfully Fred put in a Herculean effort and we managed to bowl them out.
"I don't think we could have asked for a better day when we arrived at the ground in the morning.
"We put the ball in the right areas, Australia had to force the pace to get runs on the board and, thankfully, we bowled them out before they got a lead."
Despite being forced to turn down an offer for bad light from umpires Billy Bowden and Rudi Koertzen because of the circumstances of needing to win to cling on to the urn, Australia coach John Buchanan said a combination of Flintoff's brilliance and determination, rather than poor visibility, had resulted in the innings' demise.
Buchanan said: "We were keen to maintain the way we were batting. If the light had got so bad that our batsmen felt it was time to leave the crease, they would have done that but they felt pretty comfortable out there, right from the word go.
"It wasn't necessarily a case of bad light that saw our wickets fall; great credit to Flintoff who took the ball from one end and pounded in.
"He wanted to change the course of our batting and he did with the initial breakthroughs."
The latest interruptions to the contest means 134 overs have been lost in the match but neither side is ruling out another nailbiting finish, such has been the drama of this series and the fact that Shane Warne - who has 35 wickets so far - is set for one last hurrah.
Hoggard said: "It now turns into a one-innings match and they could be chasing a target off 20 overs. It could be another fantastic Test.
"It would be nice to go through the day without losing wickets but this series has always had a twist in the tail.
"We know we will have to bat well, it is by no means over - we are playing the best team in the world and we have a person called Mr Warne to contend with. The Australians know they have one last chance to keep the Ashes."
Buchanan added: "We have always got a chance, it is obviously a little bit more difficult than when we were all out because there were more than 150 overs left. Now, there are 98.
"But the players are keen and we will try to take all the wickets we can."
The potential of an historic triumph even got the 23,000 crowd - who paid an average of £50 per ticket - greeting the sight of the players leaving the middle with huge cheers.
Hoggard said: "It makes a change from being jeered for coming off for a few spots of rain! To bring home the Ashes will be fantastic, not just for us but for every sport in this country.
"David Beckham has been talking about it: football talking about cricket has never happened, it is just massive for cricket to get into the headlines."