Joe Root's dashing 149 not out added to India's misery as England looked to seal a 3-1 series win in the fifth and final Test at The Oval on Sunday.
England, 385 for seven overnight, hammered India's attack for a further 101 runs in 10.3 overs on the third morning before they were bowled out for 486.
And there was time before rain forced an early lunch for India to suffer yet another top order slump as they collapsed to nine for two in their second innings -- a huge deficit of 329 runs -- with bad weather seemingly their only way of salvaging a draw.
James Anderson moved to within four wickets of equalling Ian Botham's England Test record of 383 wickets, when he had Murali Vijay lbw with an inswinger.
The one thing above all India did not want at this stage was a run out.
But that is what they got when Gautam Gambhir (three) set off for a single that was never on before turning back and being caught short of his ground by Chris Woakes's direct hit from short midwicket.
Rain then spared India further punishment.
Earlier, Root completed his second hundred of the series, following his 154 not out in the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge, with three off paceman Ishant Sharma.
But the next delivery saw Chris Jordan caught behind for 20, with England now 400 for eight.
- Bold Broad -
Stuart Broad came out for his first innings since having his nose broken when top-edging a a Varun Aaron bouncer into the gap between the peak of his helmet and the grille during England's innings and 54-run victory in the fourth Test at Old Trafford.
However, Broad -- who bats left-handed -- was quickly into his stride with a series of flowing offside drives for four, with Sharma the bowler who suffered most.
Meanwhile Root played on to Sharma, on 110 but was reprieved when, after a check with the third umpire, it was ruled a no-ball.
And when Sharma tested Broad with a bouncer, he defiantly hooked him for six over long leg.
But Broad's entertaining innings of 37 ended when he was ruled to have gloved a Sharma bouncer to Virat Kohli in the slips.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni brought on Ravichandran Ashwin but he could not stop the flow of runs, with Root striking both reverse and conventional sweeps for four off the off-spinner.
Root and Anderson had shared a Test record 10th wicket stand of 163 at Trent Bridge.
But this time they put on a more modest 23 before Anderson was lbw to Ashwin for one.
Sharma, the star of India's second Test win at Lord's but absent from the heavy defeats at Southampton and Old Trafford, marked his return with four wickets for 96 runs in 30 overs.
But Aaron was expensive, his two wickets costing 153 runs in 29 overs.
Root faced 165 balls, including 18 fours and a six.
His innings took his tally for the series to 518 runs at the huge average of 103.50, with two hundreds and three fifties.
Saturday had seen Root join two all-time great batsmen in becoming only the third England player to score a half century in every Test of a five-match series after Wally Hammond against South Africa in 1938/39 and Peter May, also against South Africa, in 1955.
John Edrich scored fifties in all six-matches of England's Ashes-winning series against Australia in 1970/71.