(CNN) -- England need to pull off another great escape to save the fourth and final Test against South Africa and clinch a 1-0 victory over the hosts.
The tourists, who hung on for draws in the first and third matches of the series, slumped to 48-3 at the end of day three in Johannesburg as bad light again curtailed play early.
England are still 195 runs short of making South Africa bat for a second time, with the Proteas having declared at 423-7 on Saturday.
While the weather has been helping Andrew Strauss's team -- another 28 overs were lost due to another thunderstorm and bad light -- the problems with umpiring have continued.
Opener Strauss was the third man out for 22, as he failed to overturn a leg before wicket decision from the bowling of debutant Wayne Parnell via the referral system.
England, angered by third umpire Daryl Harper's failure to give out Friday's centurion Graeme Smith despite an obvious edge, were also on the wrong side of other referral systems as South Africa built up a first-innings lead of 243.
While Hashim Amla added just two runs to his overnight 73, AB de Villiers had three escapes via the video system after twice being initially given out by onfield umpire Tony Hill off the bowling off spinner Graeme Swann -- the second of which was a double escape as the ball hit his pads and bounced onto the stumps, but did not dislodge the bails.
De Villiers, who also escaped an apparent inside edge off seamer Ryan Sidebottom, went on to score 58 as he added for the sixth wicket with 120 with wicketkeeper Mark Boucher.
Boucher made 95 as he passed the milestone of 5,000 Test runs before becoming the seventh man out when he became Swann's second victim.
Sidebottom, recalled in place of Graham Onions and the unlucky bowler when Smith survived, also took two wickets while Chris Broad claimed 3-83.
England soon lost opener Alastair Cook (1) and South Africa-born Jonathan Trott (8), edging deliveries from Morne Morkel and Dale Steyn respectively into the slips.
Kevin Pietersen (9) and Paul Collingwood (0) were left to hold the fort after Strauss departed as bad light became a factor for the second time in the final session.
Australia, seeking a 3-0 series whitewash, bowled out the tourists for 301 -- a first-innings deficit of 218 runs -- but Ponting decided to bat again despite forecasts of rain for the final two days in Hobart.
Australia reached 59-1 at stumps on the third day with Ponting, who made a double century in the first knock, unbeaten on 25 and Simon Katich on 33 after Shane Watson fell for just one run.
Pakistan opener Salman Butt went some way to making amends for running out his teammates Mohammad Yousuf and Umar Akmal late on Friday as he top-scored with 102.
Butt hit 17 boundaries in 234 deliveries faced before becoming the fifth man out at 213 as he became the first of three victims for part-time spinner Katich.
He had added 129 with Shoaib Malik, the last of Pakistan's specialist batsmen who was seventh out when he became the first of three batsmen snared by off-spinner Nathan Hauritz.