India 271 for 6 (Ashwin 57*, Jadeja 31*) trail England 283 (Bairstow 89, Shami 3-63) by 12 runs
Scorecard and ball-by-ball details
Fightback followed fightback during an absorbing final session on the second day in Mohali. India closed within touching distance of a lead after England had revived their prospects on the back of two inspired pieces of fielding which highlighted a stirring post-tea response. India lost 3 for 8 in a frenetic passage and their position worsened when Virat Kohli fell for 62, but R Ashwin and Ravindra Jadeja prevented an all-out collapse to take India to within 12 of England's total by the close.
India had established a position of strength when Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara added 75 for the third wicket, seemingly putting England's 283 into context. But, two balls into the final session, Pujara pulled a long hop from Rashid towards deep midwicket where Chris Woakes did remarkably well to make the ground then dive low for the catch. Even better, though, was to follow when Jos Buttler pulled off a stunning stop and shy - from his knees - at backward point to send back debutant Karun Nair.
Between those two moments of individual brilliance Ajinkya Rahane had failed to pick a googly from Rashid and Kohli edged Ben Stokes, which led to Stokes intimating silence in his celebration following his ICC fine for his verbals towards Kohli when he was dismissed on the second day. India were 204 for 6 and England had visions of batting before the close with a useful lead, but they were thwarted by Ashwin and Jadeja who picked their moment before the second new ball to take on the spinners.
Ashwin, who was not moving comfortably between the wickets, went to his third fifty of the series with his seventh boundary and Jadeja went from 8 off 34 to 31 off 59 as the pair reached stumps with an unbroken stand of 67. England will cling to the fact that they are bowling last on the surface, but it has held together well so far, while India will fancy the vulnerability of England's batting even if the lead is smaller than they would have wanted.
England were bowled out within four overs of the resumption this morning and, initially, signs were ominous as the new ball did not swing for James Anderson and Chris Woakes. When M Vijay was dropped at midwicket - Buttler unable to cling on to a flick off Moeen Ali - England needed a pick-me-up and, as so often, it came from Stokes. With his fourth ball he draw Vijay into a flat-footed poke outside off and although the umpire Chris Gaffaney did not raise his finger Vijay walked knowing the replay would confirm the edge.
It had been a curious, half-hearted, stay for Vijay who was also involved in an intriguing moment when he defended a delivery back to Anderson, who spotted the batsman had held his pose outside the crease. Anderson shied at the stumps and hit Vijay's pads, leading to a query for obstructing the field, but it was rightly ruled that Vijay had not moved from his position to block the throw.
England thought they had removed Parthiv Patel, caught down the leg side when he had 12, but the DRS showed the ball had only flicked his shirt. In his first Test for eight years, and thrust to the top of the order after KL Rahul's injury, it was an impressive performance from Parthiv to quickly adjust to the challenge.
His dismissal was a very modern lbw. Using his feet to Adil Rashid he was beaten by the turn but, having come down the pitch, the umpire understandably said not out. Jonny Bairstow, though, was convinced of the value of the review and he was vindicated when the ball was shown to be hitting leg stump.
And so the Kohli-Pujara double-act was back together. They soaked up the pressure of England's quicks and the ever-improving Rashid, who bowled consecutive maidens for the first time in his Test career, and began to profit towards the end of the second session when Gareth Batty's brief, and delayed, entry to the attack proved expensive.
There had also been a missed chance - albeit a difficult one - to break the stand when Pujara, on 35, glanced Stokes down the leg side but Bairstow could not hold on, low to his left, with one hand. Pujara went to his fifty from 100 balls to continue a golden run which has included two centuries in this series and, as he and Kohli strode in together at tea, a pivotal final session for England's series prospects loomed.
Sure enough, a momentary misjudgment transformed their prospects. In Vizag, Pujara had reached his century with a six over midwicket - to bring comparisons with Virender Sehwag - but on this occasion he will have wished he had left it to Viru. To be fair, though, the ball was there to whack, but he did not connect cleanly. Woakes' sprint and dive provided the boost England needed.
It also took Rashid's bowling average below 40 for the first time in his career. It was notable how much faith Alastair Cook put in his legspinner: Batty did not bowl until the 47th over and Moeen bowled only nine overs all day. Partly that will have been because of the right-handers being at the crease, but it was not long ago that even that fact would not have elicited trust from Cook. That faith was rewarded again when Rahane, whose series has not got going, was befuddled by Rashid's googly.
It takes a lot to knock Kohli's equilibrium at the crease, but a combination of the two quick wickets then Buttler's reflexes at point led him to sell Nair a dummy came closer than most scenarios. Yet it still needed a brilliant piece of opportunism to throw down the stumps. To Kohli's credit he refocused and reached a 111-ball fifty as he and Ashwin responded with a counter-attacking stand of 48 in 10 overs.
By now, Cook had returned to Stokes and he hung the ball just far enough outside off to tempt Kohli who had profited from the glide to third man. In attempting such a shot, he played away from his body to give England the wicket they craved. As his team-mates hooped and hollered, Stokes silenced himself while Kohli made a swift about-turn.
India were in danger of conceding a deficit that was more than just an irritant, but not for the first time the depth of their batting - much like England's - came to the fore. Ashwin timed the ball beautifully despite having to battle discomfort from what appeared to be a leg problem. Like Stokes for England, a shudder is surely felt whenever Ashwin appears in pain. He and Jadeja have kept India on an even keel at worst: it is unlikely to be their last telling contribution of this match.