India's spinners were thwarted by a splendid display of ultra-defensive batting by England before the hosts took control dismissing rival skipper Alastair Cook on an engrossing fourth day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam, on Sunday.
In pursuit of an uphill victory target of 405, England finished the day at 87 for two, thanks to a dogged defiance from skipper Cook and young Haseeb Hameed, who kept the Indian bowlers at bay for more than 50 overs out of the 150 England require to bat in their second innings.
It was fascinating final two sessions where Cook (54, 188 balls) and 19-year-old Hameed (25, 144 balls) added 75 for the opening stand and frustrated the hosts quite a lot for a session and half.
Cook showed enormous patience en route his 53rd Test half-century which came off 172 balls -- his slowest in the longest format.
The captain's resistance finally ended when Ravindra Jadeja trapped the skipper leg before with the final delivery of the day. England require 318 runs more on the fifth and final day but they would be very happy if they could even manage a draw on a pitch which is getting more and more difficult for batting.
India have three full sessions to grab the remaining eight wickets and take a 1-0 lead in the five-match series.
If Cook's experience came to the fore, Hameed defied his age and showed temperament of the highest order, batting for more than three hours.
Hameed faced 24 overs en route to his gutsy innings of 25 before Ashwin gave the breakthrough at the fag end of the day as the ball kept low trapping the right-hander plumb in-front.
The ball hardly bounced after pitching and here was no way that Hameed could keep it away as he was trapped right in front for an agonising end.
The opening partnership also provided a study in contrast to their struggling Indian counterparts as the strategy was just to block and delay the inevitable.
Tndia's frustration was summed up when Kohli used up both his DRS review in space of six balls against captain Cook but to no avail.
England reached 50 in 37.1 overs, a tad faster than their slowest of 38.5 overs in the second innings against Sri Lanka at The Oval in 1998.
They did well to keep the five-man Indian attack at bay in front of a 20,000-plus crowd, the best turn-out of the match so far at the Dr. Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy ACA-VDCA Cricket Stadium in Visakhapatnam.
Hameed was extremely sound with his technique, did well to duck the short ball and got into his position playing the copybook forward defensive shot.
India bowled in good areas but surprisingly the fourth day wicket which was perceived to be a rank-turner held firm as the English openers played each ball to its merit in their fight for survival.
On a hat-trick after taking two wickets off two deliveries in the first innings, Ashwin was brought in the fifth over but Cook played him without any fuss, while Hameed held firm as England managed to keep themselves unscathed in the second session.
Hameed who was run out in the first innings, was very solid in defence frustrating the Indians, who tried everything possible in a bid to dismiss the 19-year-old.
Earlier at the stroke of noon, India's second innings folded for 204 in an extended lunch session with the last pair of Jayant Yadav (27 not out) and Mohammad Shami (19) putting on 42 runs from 58 balls after Virat Kohli struck a glittering 81.
Kohli was at his fluent and had no problem scoring runs with ease in his 109-ball knock, studded with four boundaries but before he could notch yet another century Ben Stokes' brilliant one-handed catch off Adil Rashid at slip ended his stay. Having caught Kohli in the first innings from the same position, the English all-rounder dived full length to his right and pulled off a stunning catch, when it looked the ball had passed him.
Kohli's departure India losing a couple of more quick wickets -- Ravindra Jadeja (14) and Umesh Yadav (0) -- who also both were dismissed by Rashid, who finished with four for 82.
But Mohammad Shami slamed a 22-ball 19 studded with two sixes and one four as he along with Jayant Yadav (27 not out) added 42 runs from 58 balls to swell India's lead.
India's second innings folded for 204 in 63.1 overs after Moeen Ali had Shami stumped courtesy of some quick glovework by wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Stuart Board had led England's fightback early in the morning session as he claimed the wickets of Ajinkya Rahane (26) and Ravichandran Ashwin (7) in successive overs, to finish with excellent figures of four for 33.
As his partnership with Kohli began to grow, Rahane was done in by an unplayable delivery that seemingly rose awkwardly from a crack before kissing his gloves and was taken by Cook at a wide slip.
Having survived on six after a successful referral, Ashwin did not last long and became Broad's fourth victim edging one behind the stumps, which resulted in a few more wickets before Jayant and Shami ensured India got past the 200-run mark.