Having already lost the Pataudi Trophy, India were forced to toil hard without much success on a frustrating day as England take complete control of the fifth and final Test at The Oval on Saturday.
At the close of second day's play in London, India were 174/6, still trailing England by another 158 runs. Debutant Hanuma Vihari and Ravindra Jadeja were unbeaten on 25 and 8 respectively at the draw of bails.
Top Order Fails Again
India's reply to England's total of 332 started in the worst possible manner, losing opener Shikhar Dhawan in the second over. Dhawan (3) found himself trapped in front off Stuart Broad's first delivery of the day.
The wicket helped England pacer overtake Kiwi legend Richard Hadlee, at eighth with 432 scalps, in the list of all-time highest wicket-takers in Test cricket.
KL Rahul and Cheteshwar Pujara did stitch a 64-run stand for the second wicket, but prodigious England all-rounder Sam Curran struck in the 23rd over to remove the opener, thus bringing Virat Kohli in the centre.
Rahul (37), who was playing with confidence, lost his wicket to a jaffa with the ball rattling the off-stump. This was Rahul's highest score in the series. He has contributed a grand total of 150 runs in the series. In the 14 innings, the 26-year-old has scored 208 runs.
Pujara (37) and Kohli held the fort for some time with a 31-run stand, but James Anderson removed the Saurashtra batsman in the 33rd over, thanks to a Jonny Bairstow catch in the slip cordon. Anderson would return to take the wicket of Ajinkya Rahane (0) in the 35th over, caught by retiring Alastair Cook.
Anderson thus became the most successful bowler against India with 107 wickets, overtaking Muttiah Muralitharan (105).
Kohli Can't Always Bail India Out
The top order's failure once again left Kohli with an onerous task to save the team from the jaws of defeat in a series which they have already lost.
Coming into bat at 70/2 in the 23rd over, the 29-year-old added 51 runs for the fifth wicket with Vihari as India painstakingly continued to build the innings.
Ben Stokes joined the party by removing Kohli (49) and Rishab Pant (5) in successive overs to leave India languishing at 160/6 inside the 49th over.
Kohli's departure in the 47th over, caught by rival skipper Joe Root at second slip opened the floodgates for England. And with that, India's chance of registering a second win the series seemed to have evaporated.
The India captain has scored 593 runs in the series. Another seven runs in the second innings, which is sure to come, and he will become only the second batsman after legendary Don Bradman (6) to score 600 runs or more in a series for four times.
The Same Wagging Tail
Earlier in the day, England's tail continued to wag with Jos Buttler and Stuart Broad stitching a 98-run stand for the eighth wicket to help salvage the hosts from a precarious position of 181/7 to a challenging total of 332 all out.
This is the third highest innings score in the series, behind 396/7d by England at Lord's and India's second innings declaration at 352/7 at Edgbaston.
The 98-run stand is also England's second highest for the ninth wicket against India, behind Craig White and Matthew Hoggard (103 at Trent Bridge in 2002).
For the record, in the fourth Test, Broad and Sam Curran added 63 runs for the ninth wicket, which eventually proved the match-winning stand as India lost the match by 60 runs. Broad also involved in another 50-run stand for the same wicket, that time with Adil Rashid in the third Test.
Buttler shepherded the England lower order by brilliantly instilling enough faith in his batting partners to not only hang on in the centre but to score runs.
He first posted 33 runs with Adil Rashid for the eighth wicket before joining continuing the charge together with Broad. It was followed by a crucial 20-run last-wicket stand with James Anderson, with the gloves-man scoring all those 20 runs.
Buttler, however, failed to reach his second Test hundred, missing by 11 runs. His was the last English wicket to fall in the innings. But he went past the 500-run mark this season.
The 28-year-old now has 438 runs in the series, second behind Kohli. Buttler scored his Test maiden hundred last month, in a losing cause. His valiant 106 in the third Test while chasing an improbable 521-run target in Nottingham will be remembered as one of the highlights of the series.
Pacers Break 38-Year-Old Record
Indian bowlers toiled hard for a better part of the morning session, with success coming only after Lunch.
India were in a good position to dismiss England for a low total after ending Day 1 on a high note. They have restricted England to 198/7, thanks to six wickets in the final session. But the visitors ended up conceding another 134 runs while trying to get last three England wickets.
Mohammed Shami (0/72) was India's best bowler in the innings, but the luck continued to elude the 28-year-old. The 30 overs he bowled in the innings is the longest spell for him without success.
Ravindra Jadeja, who's playing his first match of the series, proved to be India most successful bowler with four scalps (4/79). Jasprit Bumrah (3/83) and Ishant Sharma (3/62) shared the remaining six wickets between them.
Bumrah took the day's first wicket, trapping Rashid (15) off the first ball of the 98th over. Jadeja took the remaining two wickets – Broad (38), caught at mid-on by Rahul off the third ball of the 118th over and Buttler, caught at slip off the last ball of 122nd over.
Meanwhile, Indian pacers have taken 59 wickets in a series for the first time – Sharma (18), Shami (14), Bumrah (14), Pandya (10) and Umesh Yadav (3). The previous best collective performance by Indian pacers was a haul of 58 wickets against Pakistan in 1979/80 by Kapil Dev (32), Karsan Ghavri (15) and Roger Binny (11).
Rahul, who has been making up for his batting failure with some brilliant fielding in the tour, now has 13 catches. He equalled Rahul Dravid's Indian record of most catches in a series. The former India captain took 13 catches in the 2004 series against Australia.
England have already taken an unassailable 3-1 lead with wins at Edgbaston by 31 runs, at Lord's by an innings and 159 runs and at The Rose Bowl by 60 runs. India won the third Test at Trent Bridge by 203 runs to flirt with the possibility of winning the series. But it proved all too fleeting to be true.
England: 332 all out in 122 overs (Alastair Cook 71, Jos Buttler 89; Ravindra Jadeja 4/79, Ishant Sharma 3/62, Jasprit Bumrah 3/3)
India: 174 for 6 in 51 overs (Virat Kohli 49; Stuart Broad 2/20, James Anderson 2/20).