Kevin Pietersen's first Test hundred against India set up a strong position for England at stumps on the fourth day at Lord's on Sunday.
The tourists -- dismissed for a meagre 201 in their first innings -- were 137 for three at the close, needing a further 243 runs to reach their target of 380 after Pietersen had scored 134.
Opener Dinesh Karthik was 56 not out and former captain Sourav Ganguly, dropped on 12, was 36 not out with their stand currently worth 52 after they came together at 84 for three.
If India win they would achieve the fourth highest fourth innings Test victory total in history and break the equivalent Lord's record of 344 for one set by the West Indies in 1984.
James Anderson, leading an attack that was missing injured quicks Matthew Hoggard, Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff, added to his Test-best five for 42 in the first innings when he got out opener Wasim Jaffer, who'd top scored in the first innings with 58, clipping to Pietersen at mid-wicket.
Debutant pace bowler Chris Tremlett then had India captain Rahul Dravid leg before wicket for nine.
Dravid's exit brought in star batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
But in what could be the 34-year-old's final Test innings at Lord's he only managed 16 before he was leg before wicket to left-arm spinner Monty Panesar.
Tendulkar's departure sparked wild celebrations from Panesar, who'd got him out for his first Test wicket at Nagpur in March last year, with the bowler running round in an arc towards the Tavern boundary.
Ganguly then gave a tough chance when he pushed forward against Panesar with a diving Ian Bell at silly-point dropping the left-handed catch.
Karthik, who played attractive cover-drives against the new ball, became becalmed later on and spent 16 overs in the 40s.
But he kept going to complete a 101-ball fifty with seven fours.
Pietersen provided the cornerstone of England's second innings 282 which ended when 21-year-old left-arm quick Rudra Pratap Singh took five wickets in a Test innings for the first time to finish with five for 59 in 16.3 overs.
England, having been rocked by Singh's pre-lunch burst of three for 10 in 15 balls, resumed on 161 for five with Pietersen 62 not out.
Pietersen then took the attack to India's bowlers and went from 80 to his hundred in 10 balls.
Later, when it seemed the game was beyond India's reach, Zaheer Khan struck twice in two balls.
Prior was well caught by diving keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Tremlett played on as he became the fifth England player to make a pair on Test debut.
Ryan Sidebottom survived the hat-trick before he was caught by Dravid, at slip, off Kumble.
Pietersen was bowled by Singh looking to hit out before the left-armer ended the innings by having Panesar leg before wicket.