India 294 for 7 (Pant 101, Sundar 60*, Anderson 3-40) lead England 205 (Stokes 55, Axar 4-68, Ashwin 3-47) by 89 runs
Ahmedabad: Rishabh Pant's dazzling century ensured India repelled a Ben Stokes-led England fightback on a compelling second day of the final Test in Ahmedabad.
In extreme heat, Stokes' huge effort brought the wickets of Virat Kohli and Rohit Sharma to help reduce India to 146-6 in reply to England's 205.
But Pant counter-attacked in thrilling style, climbing into a tiring England attack for 101 from 118 balls, with 13 fours and two sixes.
Pant shared a seventh-wicket stand of 113 with Washington Sundar, who remained unbeaten on 60 as India reached 294-7, 89 ahead.
Leading 2-1, India need to avoid defeat to win the series and secure a meeting with New Zealand in the World Test Championship final.
This was a wonderful day of Test cricket, an arm-wrestle for control on a pitch that is threatening to deteriorate.
For two sessions, England were as good with the ball as they were bad with the bat on Thursday, giving the hosts little respite.
However, even though Dan Lawrence's 46 on day one was crucial, the decision to extend their batting left England short of a bowler late on day two, especially with off-spinner Dom Bess looking devoid of confidence after being left out for two Tests.
Pant cashed in with a memorable century that delighted the smattering of spectators inside the world's biggest cricket stadium.
England still have the opportunity to post a fourth-innings target that could be tricky to chase on the wearing surface.
But the likelihood is that Pant has played a defining, series-winning innings.