Jos Buttler's battling half-century came to England's aid on a gripping third day of the fourth Specsavers Test against India in Southampton.
A fascinating match nonetheless remains anyone's after England eked out 260 for eight, to lead by 233 on a pitch playing a few tricks already - with reverse-swing in the equation too thanks to a worn late-season square.
India are facing by far their highest chase to win a Test match in England, and it will not come easily as they seek to keep the series alive by levelling at 2-2.
Jos Buttler made 69 as England carved out a promising lead over India in Southampton
Buttler's innings gives England reason for optimism but there is work to do on day four
Sam Curran remains at the crease, unbeaten on 37 and looking to enforce England's lead
Number seven Buttler (69) ensured the testing target after joining forces to add 56 with Ben Stokes and then 55 with Sam Curran.
Neither team has been able to secure a significant advantage for long in this fluctuating contest.
England's openers appeared set to at least wipe out their 27-run deficit until Alastair Cook was suckered into a drive by Jasprit Bumrah and eventually caught by juggling second slip KL Rahul at his third attempt.
Moeen Ali's curious promotion to number three ahead of Joe Root did not work out as he too fell cheaply into Rahul's hands, low this time as Ishant Sharma created his usual confusion for left-handers from round the wicket.
A second and final official warning for running on the pitch soon followed for the tall seamer, though, and Virat Kohli took him out of the attack.
It was therefore Mohammed Shami (three for 53) who stood up either side of lunch and set England back just when it seemed Keaton Jennings and