Australia reduced England to 203 for six to move to the brink of a consolation victory on the third day of the final Ashes Test at The Oval.

England captain Alastair Cook made a brave 85 before falling to Steve Smith shortly before the close and the tourists, 129 runs ahead, need four more wickets to end the series on a high after relinquishing the urn.

England, following on 332 runs behind, lost Adam Lyth (10), Ian Bell (13) and Joe Root (11) cheaply in warm sunshine in south London.

Jonny Bairstow made 26 but he and Ben Stokes (nought) fell in the same over from spinner Nathan Lyon to leave Australia on course to win inside three days.

Cook, however, had other ideas and he and Jos Buttler added 59 to give the hosts an outside chance of saving the match with rain forecast over the next two days.

Just 15 runs short of his first century of the series, Cook pushed tentatively forward to part-time leg-spinner Smith and Voges pouched the catch at short leg to end the England captain's five-hour stay at the crease.

Earlier, Australia's fired-up pace attack had ripped through England's top order.

Lyth was caught by Michael Clarke at second slip off Peter Siddle, continuing a wretched run of form for the England opener who will surely be dropped after failing to pass fifty in the series.

Bell never looked comfortable before fending a snorting delivery from Mitchell Marsh to captain Clarke.

Root also struggled to cope with Australia's pace attack and hooked a short ball from Mitchell Johnson to Mitchell Starc at long leg.

A fired-up Australian bowling attack ensured England never really recovered.

Scorecard:

Australia 481 all out (Smith 143, Finn 3-90)

England 149 all out & 203-6 (f/o) (Cook 85, Lyon 2-52)

Source: Al Jazeera and agencies