England were given a potential lifeline as rain swept in at The Oval with Australia two wickets away from a consolation win.
Australia's hopes of claiming a consolation victory in the final Ashes Test were dented as rain arrived with England on the brink of defeat at The Oval.
England, who have already won the series, began Sunday in a perilous position, 129 behind on 203-6 having followed on.
However, although Mark Wood (6) and Jos Buttler (42) departed inside the first 40 minutes on day four, the heavens opened prior to lunch to offer the hosts - still 74 behind at 258-8 - a potential lifeline.
With a miserable forecast for the final day, Australia had to wait and hope that an anticipated dry spell later on Sunday would enable them to power home their considerable advantage.
In the play that was possible on the fourth morning, Buttler and nightwatchman Wood added 18 to the overnight total before the latter fell lbw to Peter Siddle for six.
Wood was trapped plumb in front, but a review was required to send him on his way, with umpire Kumar Dharmasena perhaps believing the batsman had got an inside edge as he turned down Australia's confident appeals.
Having exhibited patience on the previous evening to register his highest score of the series, Buttler gave his wicket away in careless fashion - chipping Mitchell Marsh to mid-off.
Yet Australia were unable to claim the remaining two England wickets as Moeen Ali (17 not out) and Stuart Broad (10) resisted thereafter.