AWorld record 10th-wicket stand by James Anderson and Joe Root gave England hope of salvaging something from the wreckage of Friday's disappointing batting display in the first Investec Test against India at Trent Bridge.
Root (154 not out) and Anderson, with a career-best 81, put on 198 to take the hosts to an unlikely 496 all out in light of the previous day's 202 for seven in reply to 457. A succession of records tumbled to the pair as they threw up an astounding two- and-a-half hours of cricket on the morning of day four.
India were 167 for three in their second innings at stumps last night after losing Murali Vijay (52) and Cheteshwar Pujara (55) to successive deliveries but the strong probability is that one of the slowest pitches ever prepared for international cricket in this country will see the match end in a draw today.
However, Anderson admitted he had finally experienced the fun side of batting. He revealed he and Root had initially only meant to "annoy" India but as the stand progressed, he began to enjoy himself.
The 31-year-old, who has regularly been England's night-watchman and whose previous best first-class score was only 37, said: "I had really good fun. It's probably the first time I've really enjoyed batting. It was a great effort. We seemed to get on a roll last night and I think overnight we both thought we could actually annoy the Indians today and stay out there a little bit.
"Obviously we didn't think anything like this could happen. We knew we still had a job to do this morning and we stuck at it brilliantly.
"I wouldn't say it was easy but it was such a slow pitch that you knew there was only a few ways you could get out. If you had a good game plan you could stick in there."
Root added: "Obviously we're going to have to bowl well on Sunday, get some early wickets, but if we do you never know. We'll be itching in that dressing room if we do, so let's hope we can."
By lunch the duo had over-hauled a record that had seemed sure to stand for years but in the end lasted only 366 days: Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes' 163 for Australia at the same ground at the start of last summer's Ashes, Anderson being the bowler who was unable to break that famous partnership.
A year on, though, he was hitting new heights in the most unexpected circumstances.
Anderson was finally removed when he edged a drive at Bhuvneshwar Kumar (five for 82) and was caught by a diving Shikhar Dhawan at slip, leaving Root unbeaten after six-and- three-quarter hours and 295 balls.
It was a comparative anti-climax for Anderson and Root to fall short of a double-century stand, but a reality check was in store when India batted again.
Anderson might have made a near-immediate breakthrough, had Matt Prior put his gloves in the right place to collect a Vijay edge, but England got a break anyway when Vijay's opening partner Shikhar Dhawan poked a Moeen Ali full toss back for a gimme wicket.
That seemed sure to be their only success until Vijay was up the pitch to Moeen and edged him behind, and then Pujara carved a cut at Liam Plunkett to a juggling Ben Stokes.