England captain Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott piled on the misery for India as they steered the visitors to a commanding 296 for one at lunch on the third day of the third cricket Tests on Friday.
Cook was unbeaten on 167 (323b, 22x4, 1x6) after being dropped at 156 by Ishant Sharma who grassed a sitter, while Trott returned to form giving the skipper fine support with an unbeaten 66 (172 balls, 8x4).
England now trail India's first innings total by just 20 runs and are firmly in the driver's seat.
Resuming the day at 216 for one, England did not have any problem against Indian bowlers who looked listless while the fielding was poor. The Indians were made to suffer as the duo put on an undefeated 131-run for the second wicket.
Cook had one edgy moment in the morning when he missed a sweep off Ashwin as the ball struck the pad outside the line inviting a huge appeal, but thereafter the English skipper continued from where he left Thursday.
The duo of Ashwin and Ojha continued bowling for 15 overs together before India took the new ball in the 88th over but the result was no different.
Cook had no trouble negotiating the home bowlers as he notched up his seventh Test 150, clobbering Zaheer through mid-wicket as he continued his record-breaking innings.
The in-form batsman also went past 500 runs in the series, only the third Englishman to do so in a series in India after Ken Barrington and Mike Gatting.
Through his fluent innings, Cook also ensured an out-of-form Jonathan Trott, who had two ducks in the first two Tests, returned to form, as the right-hander stormed to his 13th Test half-century.
It meant that England put on their second century plus stand as they looked to bat through the day.
The lack of enthusiasm was evident in Indians' body language when Ishant dropped an easy catch that Cook had offered to him like a soft underarm lob.
The lanky pacer had the back of his hand while attempting the catch from his follow through but even Ishant could not believe himself seeing the ball go past him.
Ashwin looked impressive in his spell and on one occasion, the off-spinner almost bowled Trott but the English batsman survived to keep his team on top.
Brief Scores: India 316 (Sachin Tendulkar 76, MS Dhoni 52; Monty Panesar 4 for 90, James Anderson 3 for 89) lead England 296 for 1 (Alastair Cook 167*, Jonathan Trott 66*; Pragya Ojha 1 for 74) by 20 runs
First Published: December 7, 2012, 11:16 am