Karun Nair struck a triple century to send India to their highest Test score of 759-7 declared and the highest amassed by any team against England.
Nair, playing in his third Test, made 303 not out to become only the second India batsman to make a triple century.
His effort on day four of the fifth Test in Chennai left England needing to bat out the final day to avoid defeat.
The tourists, who have already lost the series, survived five overs to close on 12-0, still 270 behind.
Their task on Tuesday should be helped be a surface that remains docile, but India’s skilful spinners are likely to extract much greater assistance than England’s.
Not only do England face an examination of their technique, but also their mentality, determination and attitude on the final day of a gruelling tour.
“They’ve been flogged around, but that’s not the most difficult pitch to bat on,” said former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott on Test Match Special. “There’s just scoreboard pressure, and the pressure of their minds.
“The key will be the first session. Every time a new batsman comes in, India will pressurise them – and it’s really only your own fault if you get out.”
Nair, resuming on 71 of India’s 391-4 overnight, initially continued with the uncertainty he showed on the fourth evening, edging Stuart Broad over the slips and struggling against the pace and bounce of Ben Stokes.
But after he reached his maiden century, the 25-year-old right-hander began to sparkle. Whereas the bulk of his first hundred runs were scored square of the wicket, Nair expanded into cover drives, sweeps of all kinds and audacious ramps over wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow.
Dropped at slip by captain Alastair Cook on 34 off Jake Ball on Sunday, he was given an almost identical life by Joe Root off the same bowler on 217 and survived a stumping chance to Bairstow off Moeen Ali on 246.
He shared partnerships of 181 with Ravichandran Ashwin (67) and 138 with Ravindra Jadeja (51), the latter coming in a raucous late-evening charge towards his 300.
Three of his four sixes came after he passed 200, the third century was made in only 75 balls and completed with a cut for four off Adil Rashid that was celebrated by a delirious Chennai crowd.
‘The best knock of my life’
India triple centurion Karun Nair: “That’s the best knock of my life. I had to play differently depending on who was batting. They kept encouraging me and I want to thank them.
“The first hundred is always important and when I got that I didn’t feel any pressure and just played my shots.
“The pitch is getting worse and for a new batsmen it won’t be easy to play. Hopefully it will turn more tomorrow.”
England chase leather in Chennai