Images: England close in on a series whitewash
Rahul Dravid batted through with a heroic unbeaten 146 but India failed to avoid follow on and were left with a daunting task of batting out the entire fifth day to save the final Test against England at the Oval on Sunday.
Dravid notched up his 35th century and got some support from tailenders as India's first innings folded up for 300, forty minutes before tea break.
Following on, India were 129 for three at close on an eventful penultimate day with the visitors needing 162 more runs to avoid the ignominy of an innings defeat and a 0-4 series whitewash.
Sachin Tendulkar and nightwatchman Amit Mishra were batting on 35 and eight respectively at the draw of stumps.
Image: Rahul Dravid celebrates after scoring his century
Photographs: Getty Images
Dravid carried his bat through
Dravid displayed tremendous temperament and class to hold the innings together as wickets fell at the other end. India touched 300 for the first in the series yet they finished 291 runs behind England's 591 for six declared.
Dravid, who was left stranded on 146, walked in again to open India's second essay as Gautam Gambhir was still feeling the after-effects of concussion he suffered while fielding in England's first innings but could not contribute much as he was out for 13 in controversial circumstances.
He was ruled not out by the umpires but given out after referral by England though the television replays of the snickometer apparently showed that there was no contact with the ball and the bat.
Image: Rahul Dravid walks back to the pavillion
Swann castles Sehwag
Dravid's partner Virender Sehwag too had his moments of anxiety as he found Swann a tough proposition to come to terms with.
Just before his dismissal, Sehwag called for physio seemingly having pain in his right shoulder which has recently been operated upon.
Sehwag finally departed after making 33 runs, a classical dismissal for an off-spinner, as a Swann delivery pitched outside off stump and spun back to find the gap between his bat and pad and knock back his middle stump.
Sehwag, by his standards, played a defensive knock as he made 33 from 67 balls with five boundaries. India by then had lost both its openers for 64 runs.
Image: Virender Sehwag is clean bowled by Graeme Swann
Laxman cleaned up with a beauty
Tendulkar and VVS Laxman then batted briskly, putting on 50 runs for the third wicket from 59 balls.
However, India suffered a massive setback when Laxman played inside the line of an Anderson delivery and his off-stump went cartwheeling to leave India in dire straits at 119 for 3.
The score could have been worse for Tendulkar appeared to have been stumped off Swann as he lifted his feet just at the moment wicketkeeper Prior removed the bails. Fortunately for India and Tendulkar, none of England players appealed.
Image: VVS Laxman is clean bowled by James Anderson
Mishra played a cameo
India, who resumed their first innings at 103 for five this morning, lasted till half an hour before tea, showing tremendous rearguard action as 197 further runs were added by the final five wickets.
Dravid, unbeaten on 57 last night, made 89 of these runs and shared a vital 87-run seventh wicket stand with a battling Amit Mishra (43).
Image: Amit Mishra plays a shot