India captain Virat Kohli kept up his brilliant summer form by hitting 103 before setting England a world-record target of 521 to win the third test and clinch the series with two matches to spare.
Nine overs into their run chase, England reached 23/0 at stumps and still needed 498 runs to complete what would be a highly improbable victory at Trent Bridge. Alastair Cook (9) and Keaton Jennings (13) survived a testing spell before the close to take the target below 500.
Kohli has been the best batsmen in the series, with his 23rd Test century adding to 97 from the first innings to take his series average to 73.33. He made 149 in the first Test at Edgbaston, and is in line to return to the top of the Test batting rankings above Australia's Steve Smith.
A day after taking 5/28, Hardik Pandya smashed an unbeaten 52 off 52 balls before India declared on 352/7 late on day three. Cheteshwar Pujara, resuming overnight alongside Kohli with India on 124/2, earlier made 72.
England's faint chances of avoiding defeat in Nottingham were hit during the first session of the day when wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow broke a bone in the middle finger of his left hand attempting to take a catch. Bairstow didn't return to the field — Jos Buttler took over wicketkeeping duties — and England didn't give an indication of whether Bairstow will be asked to bat in the team's second innings.