England need a further 218 runs to win the second Test against New Zealand with nine wickets in hand after a dramatic third day at Old Trafford.
The hosts had looked down and out after a dismal display with the bat in the morning session saw them lose six wickets for 42 runs to be bowled out for 202.
However, Monty Panesar claimed international-best figures to lift his side off the canvas and put them in with an excellent chance of going 1-0 up in the three-match series.
The left-arm spinner's 6-37 haul took his tally at the Manchester venue to 25 in three Tests, the Black Caps making just 114-9 in their second innings to set England a victory target of 294.
By the close they had wiped 76 from their target for the loss of just Alastair Cook, who was caught at short leg off the bowling of Daniel Vettori.
The visiting skipper showed why he will be the major threat to England's hopes before lunch when he picked up his second successive five-wicket haul in the series and give his team a 179-run first innings lead.
Just as he had done at Lord's Vettori dismissed Kevin Pietersen cheaply, Ross Taylor taking the first of three catches in the slips to remove England's dangerman after he had laboured to 26 from 80 balls.
The same bowler-fielder combination also accounted for Tim Ambrose for just three after the out-of-sorts Paul Collingwood had been trapped lbw with his feet stuck in the crease with only two to his name.
Vettori received excellent support during the opening hour from Iain O'Brien, who was rewarded for an excellent spell into a strong breeze with the wicket of Ian Bell, second slip Taylor clinging on at the second attempt to an edge.
When Kyle Mills, who took over from O'Brien after an hour, got rid of Panesar courtesy of a spectacular diving catch from Brendon McCullum behind the stumps, England hadn't even managed to avoid the follow-on.
It was left to Stuart Broad to spare them that embarrassment and finally warm the crowd watching on in cold conditions with an aggressive 30 before he was last man out, caught at deep cover by sub fielder Jeetan Patel.
When New Zealand reached 50 for the loss of only Aaron Redmond, caught in the gully off James Anderson for six, Michael Vaughan would have feared the worst and been ready to check the weather forecast for the next two days.
But the see-saw contest took another twist when Panesar got into a groove bowling into the wind. After conceding 14 from his first two overs he gave away only 23 from his next 15, the Kiwis collapsing from 85-2 to 114-9.
Jamie How became the first of four batsmen to fall lbw to the slow bowler with the score on 50, and although England were made to wait a further 35 runs for their next breakthrough it soon became a procession.
Hamish Marshall walked across his crease to be trapped right in front and three balls later McCullum had fallen leg before too, the wicketkeeper-batsman paying the price for trying to sweep a straight ball.
With Daniel Flynn still not fit to bat and Jacob Oram struggling with a shoulder injury, the lower order suddenly found themselves in the firing line.
Vettori attempted to hit Panesar out of his stride but perished in the process, a similar fate that ended Mills' stay in the middle, while Taylor became the final lbw victim when on 15 off 48 balls, a far cry from his fluent first-innings century that had seemed to put his country in command of the match.
Oram never looked comfortable when he finally arrived at the crease at number eight and it was no surprise when his tormentor-in-chief Ryan Sidebottom temped him into a drive that was edged behind for wicketkeeper Ambrose to take a smart diving catch low to his left.
O'Brien chipped to mid-off to end the innings at 114-9 and with England making good progress at the start of their run chase, the match is fascinatingly poised with plenty of time left, providing the weather doesn't have the last word.