Manchester - Australia declared on their overnight 172 for seven to leave England needing 332 to win the third Ashes Test at Old Trafford on Monday's fifth and final day.
Australia, 2-0 down in the five-match series, had to win this match to stand any chance of regaining the Ashes.
But, as happened when play was cut short by a combination of bad light and rain on Sunday, the weather was against Michael Clarke's men.
Heavy overnight and early morning rain saw the scheduled start of Monday's play delayed by 30 minutes until 11.30am local time (1030GMT).
Australia captain Clarke, who cut short his second innings on 30 not out after making a superb 187 in the first innings of this match, was furious when the umpires took the players off the field for bad light on Sunday before rain prevented any prospect of a resumption.
Although the floodlights were on, umpires Marais Erasmus and Tony Hill decided conditions were too dangerous for play to continue when England captain Alastair Cook refused to bowl spin from both ends.
Cook was criticised for what were widely interpreted as England's time-wasting tactics in the field, with Australia's David Warner saying he risked a ban from the International Cricket Council for the team's slow over-rate.
Clarke had a prolonged conversation with Erasmus as he and batting partner Ryan Harris stayed in the middle while England walked off.
Eventually, the Australians trudged off the field.
"The umpires have control over that now. They deemed it dangerous and we just had to come off and respect their decision," said Warner, who earlier on Sunday made 41 opening the innings.
"Obviously Michael was a little bit annoyed with that but he felt it (the light) didn't change in that last half an hour. The umpires seemed to say it did."
As for Cook's approach in the field, Warner said: "We knew the bowlers were going to take their time. The decisions they reviewed off me were a massive time-waster.
"The captain suffers from that. He'll miss a game if he's time-wasting or if the overs aren't bowled in the time allocated. That will come back to bite them (England) on the bum."
England would have to rewrite the record books if they were to win this match as the most any side have made to win in the fourth innings of an Old Trafford Test is their own 294 for four against New Zealand in 2008.
But, given a draw in this match would see England retain the Ashes, the main focus for the home side was on avoiding defeat.
Coming into this match, Australia had lost six successive Tests -- their worst run of results since 1984.
They last lost seven straight Tests between 1885-88, a run that included the only time Australia have been whitewashed in the Ashes -- a 3-0 defeat in England in 1886.