Ian Bell scored his third century of the Ashes series as England built a significant second-innings lead on day three of the fourth Test in Durham.
Bell came to the crease with England struggling on 49-3 and shared a 106-run partnership with Kevin Pietersen, who scored 44, before combining with Jonny Bairstow to good effect.
It was Bell’s third three-figure score for England in the series with the England number six the topscoring batsman from either side by a big margin as he helped the hosts assume a strong position in the match.
The century was Bell's 20th in Test cricket and fourth in an Ashes Test as he put England in a strong position in the second innings.
The Warwickshire batsman played with typical fluency and mastered tricky conditions at Chester-le-Street in what has been a low-scoring contest on a slow pitch and it is not the first time in the series that he has rescued Alastair Cook’s side.
Earlier in the day, England bowled Australia out for 270 to concede a 32-run deficit from the first innings as the tourists lost their last five wickets for just 46 runs.
It has been a magnificent series for Bell, who compiled scores of 109 at both Trent Bridge and Lord's with an innings of 74 also very valuable at Lord's before an important 60 at Old Trafford.
England have never lost a Test match in which Bell has scored a century, and if Cook's side avoid defeat in Durham they will win the Ashes with the fifth Test at The Oval still remaining.
If Bell can continue to help his side build a commanding second-innings lead on day four then Andy Flower's men will be confident of closing out a third win.
The hosts established a 2-0 series lead with victories at Trent Bridge and Lord's before being fortunate to scrape a draw at Old Trafford to retain the urn.