England suffered three early setbacks in their mammoth batting mission to save the second Test in Chennai.
After Ravichandran Ashwin had completed a hugely popular century on his home ground to help India establish a 481-run lead, England lost both openers and nightwatchman Jack Leach.
Dom Sibley stepped back and tried to play the left-armer Axar into the leg side only to miss and be trapped bang in front of the stumps.
Ashwin’s brilliant day continued when he coaxed Rory Burns, on 25, into a leg side shot that looped up to Virat Kohli in the gully.
And Axar picked up his second victim to remove Leach without score.
Ravichandran Ashwin marks his century on his home ground in Chennai on the third day
Stuart Broad sees a chance go begging as England were held up by Ashwin and Kohli
Virat Kohli and Ravichandran Ashwin built a 96-run partnership to consolidate India’s lead
Kohli has looked very determined and steadied the ship for India after the top order folded
Virat Kohli made 62 before being trapped LBW by Moeen Ali and put on 96 in a seventh-wicket stand with Ashwin after England had made gains with five wickets in the morning session.
Ashwin was dropped by Ben Stokes on 28 and Ben Foakes on 56 as he punished England’s bowlers, sailing past his century with a flurry of big blows as his batting partners dwindled.
He was eventually bowled by Olly Stone for 106 to end India’s second innings as England prepared for a marathon batting mission.
The morning session had seen encouragement for England as they picked up wickets at regular intervals.
Jack Leach and Moeen Ali took two apiece but England’s most eye-catching performer was Foakes, who followed his fine batting on Sunday with some imperious wicketkeeping that saw him play a part in three dismissals.
Joe Root’s side came out with plenty of desire and took three for 11 in the opening exchanges.
Cheteshwar Pujara was first to fall in bizarre circumstances, run out after dropping his bat while turning to make his ground. By then Ollie Pope had already shuttled the ball back to Foakes and he removed the bails in time to see the number three off.
Foakes, celebrating his 28th birthday, was even better when he had first-innings centurion Rohit Sharma stumped for 26, completing his work at lightning pace as the opener over-balanced.
Leach had done enough to beat the bat but it took Foakes’ peerless reactions to finish the job.
Cheteshwar Pujara was the first to go with Olly Stone running him out for just seven runs
Some great work from Ben Foakes saw him stump India’s dangerman Rohit Sharma
The same combination accounted for the dangerous Rishabh Pant, Leach tossing one up and dragging it away from the right hander.
Pant was well down the pitch in his pursuit of quick runs and stayed there as Foakes was perfectly positioned to follow the turn and part the stumps.
India slipped to 86 for five, though their effective situation was handily boosted by an existing lead of 195, when Moeen stepped up.
After a mixed start he tightened up to see off Ajinkya Rahane, who popped a regulation bat-pad chance to Pope at short-leg.
Foakes was at it again to remove Rishabh Pant as India fell to 86-5 in the morning session
Ollie Pope took a good catch off Moeen Ali’s bowling to dismiss India batsman Ajinkya Rahane
England were on the charge when Moeen added Axar Patel, lbw from round the wicket, but the presence of Kohli loomed over the scenario.
After his first-innings duck Kohli knew he had a job to do and he found a willing partner in Ashwin.
The pair scored five boundaries each before lunch, each one making the fourth-innings task all the harder, with Kohli reaching 38 not out and Ashwin sweeping well for his 34 not out.
Kohli brought up his half-century from 107 balls, a knock that served to wash away the memories of his day-one duck as much as set up the game for his side.
India captain Virat Kohli plays a shot en route to his 62 as the hosts’ lead moved above 400
Captains Kohli and Joe Root share a joke as they leave the field for lunch on the third day
Having been so roundly beaten by Moeen on the first morning, he was in full control here with the bat, closing the gap between bat and pad and watching the ball meticulously as it spun and bounced.
Ashwin followed his skipper to 50 with a pair of highly unusual ‘smash’ shots against Olly Stone’s pace, settling for an unorthodox but effective method as he brought up his landmark with a four.
The seventh-wicket stand was worth 96 when England finally broke through, Moeen getting Kohli for the second time in the match. It was a tight lbw call, straightening from round the wicket but hitting high on the knee roll.