India stared at an embarrassing defeat on the final day of the fifth Test match against England on Tuesday after Alastair Cook's fairytale farewell knock and Joe Root's classy hundred enabled England to pile more misery on the visitors during the penultimate day.
Cook made a dogged 147 off 286 balls in his final knock, while skipper Root roared back to form with a stylish 125, his first hundred in 28 innings, as the duo grinded the Indian bowling into submission with a 259-run stand.
Courtesy the twin hundreds by the former and current skipper, England declared their second innings on 423/8, setting a massive target of 464 for the Indians.
Deflated after fielding for over 112 overs, India's wobbly top-order once again faltered with Shikhar Dhawan (1), Cheteshwar Pujara (0) and Virat Kohli (0) dismissed in quick succession, with the day-end score being 58 for 3.
With 406 runs required on the final day and seven wickets in hand, an embarrassing 1-4 series defeat looks imminent for India as of now.
The wily Jimmy Anderson (2/23) equalled Glenn McGrath's 563 Test wickets and could break the record on Tuesday, while Stuart Broad (1/17) with 433 wickets is just one short of Kapil Dev (434 wickets).
Dhawan's poor technique was once again exposed as he was adjudged plumb leg before to an incoming delivery from Anderson. The same was the case for Pujara, who got a sharp incutter that breached his defence. He wanted a DRS but was late in appealing for one.
Skipper Kohli, after a tremendous English summer where he scored 593 runs, finally got out for a duck as he nicked one off Broad to Jonny Bairstow, leaving India in tatters at 2 runs on the board for three wickets.
K.L. Rahul (46 batting) batted in cavalier fashion, hitting eight boundaries, in the company of Ajinkya Rahane (10 batting).
However, the day certainly belonged to Cook, who scored his 33rd hundred in his last appearance to join a select band of players who scored a hundred in their debut and final Tests. Cook is fifth in the list after Reginal Duff, Bill Ponsford, Greg Chappell and Mohammed Azharuddin.
Cook's 286-ball knock had 14 boundaries and it certainly overshadowed Root's 190-ball effort that had 12 fours and a six. Their partnership literally killed the contest after Ishant Sharma's ankle injury had pegged India further back.
In the post-lunch session, Cook and Root looked to build on their partnership and further frustrate the Indian bowlers, bringing up their 200-run stand off 303 balls.
Root, on 94, got a second life as Cheteshwar Pujara dropped him at first slip off Mohammed Shami (2-97) in the 77th over. Root then went on to score his 14th Test hundred off 151 balls.
Thereafter, Root started attacking as England crossed 300 in the 88th over. India were a bowler short, with Ishant leaving the field due to ankle pain.
Hanuma Vihari (3/37) struck twice in the 95th over. First, Root holed out and then Cook was caught behind, with the opener walking off to a standing ovation as well as congratulatory handshakes from the Indian team.
Shami then got reward as Jonny Bairstow (18) played on and Ravindra Jadeja (2-147) removed Jos Buttler for a duck as England looked to score some quick runs in sight of a declaration.
Earlier, Cook's hundred helped England reach 243-2 at lunch. Starting from overnight 114-2, first up he reached his half-century off 127 balls.
Cook and Root continued to plunder runs at an easy pace as 55 runs came in the first hour of play, and 129 runs overall in this morning session, the best of the fifth Test.
In doing so, Cook and Root raised their 100-partnership off 171 balls as Cook started breaking records. First, on 76, he went past Kumar Sangakkara as the highest-scoring left-handed batsman in Test cricket history, and will finish as the fifth-highest run-scorer overall after Sachin Tendulkar, Ricky Ponting, Jacques Kallis and Rahul Dravid.
Meanwhile, at the other end, Root scored his half-century off 81 balls as England crossed 200 in the 63rd over. He had been dropped at slip by Ajinkya Rahane, on 46, off Jadeja in the 56th over.
The big moment then came in the 70th over of this innings as an overthrow from Jasprit Bumrah (0-61) gave Cook his 33rd Test century off 210 balls, surpassing Australia's Steve Waugh (32).
Further, this was Cook's seventh Test hundred against India, more than any other English batsman, ahead of Kevin Pietersen's six hundreds.
With 15 hundreds in second innings in Test cricket, Cook also overtook Sangakkara's record of 14 hundreds.