A wicket off the second ball of day three, and that too of Cheteshwar Pujara, India's rock in the batting lineup, was the perfect start for England. But then, India showed they are made of stern stuff, rallying from that big early blow via Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli, who played one of the great Test innings at the iconic Wankhede Stadium.
Murali Vijay struck his second hundred of the series on day three, but it was Kohli who stole the show, and then some, treating the fans to some ridiculously wonderful shots and another smooth-as-silk century, which gave India a solid first innings lead, when at one point, after a bit of a wobble, that looked unlikely.
Jake Ball was the one asked to open the day's play by Alastair Cook, and that ploy worked like a dream, with the England fast bowler castling Pujara (47, 104b, 6x4), who misread an incoming delivery, shouldering arms only for the ball to clip his pads and crash into the stumps.
That early wicket silenced the large Wankhede crowd that had come in to watch India bat, but it also allowed their favourite cricketer at the moment – Kohli – to put on a bit of entertainment.
Entertain them he did, with Kohli showing positive intent from the word go, hitting a bunch of boundaries to third man to begin his innings, with Vijay, who had been kept quiet for the first three overs, also getting into the act by slamming a six straight back past Moeen Ali to get his day going.
From there, runs came at a fast clip, with India going from 150 to 200 in just 66 balls. Both batsmen played wonderful cricketing shots to get those runs on the board, and with the fast bowlers unable to get much purchase out of the wicket and Ali not quite fashioning enough spin, there were no moments of real alarm for either Kohli or Vijay.
That tension did creep in a little, though, when Vijay went to 99 with a couple, but it quickly turned to joy after the India opener dabbed one to the offside for a single. Kohli also completed 1000 runs in 2016 with a delightful pull shot off Ben Stokes, before crossing the 4000-run mark for his career as well.
Cook finally brought Adil Rashid on to try and break the dangerous partnership, and the leg-spinner thought he had Vijay lbw just before lunch, when Marais Erasmus raised his finger. Vijay, though, went for the review immediately and the replays showed why with the ball taking the inside-edge of the bat before hitting the pads.
The England captain did not take the second new ball, persisting with spin hoping for a bit of magic from his bowlers or a mistake from the India batsmen. It would be the latter that would open the door for the English, with Vijay (136, 282b, 10x4, 3x6) hitting a full toss straight back to the bowler Rashid.
Just like that, a wicket that had looked dead, sprung back to life, biting and turning and bouncing and Karun Nair's (13, 18b, 2x4) second Test match innings ended in disappointment as well after he fell lbw to Moeen Ali on review.
Then, with Cook off the field for a bit, Joe Root, the vice-captain, brought himself on to take two big wickets – that of the dangerous Parthiv Patel (15, 31b, 1x4) and the in-form R Ashwin. The Parthiv wicket was a beautiful ball – flighted, pitched up and inviting the drive, which the left-hander duly did only to find an outside edge through to the wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow, who completed the catch at the second attempt.
Ashwin (0, 3b) was unlucky to get out, flicking a ball off the middle of his bat, only for it to hit Keaton Jennings at forward short leg, with the ball somehow sticking to his body.
Ravindra Jadeja came in changed the momentum, hitting the spinners for a few boundaries, and while it could have gotten worse for India when Kohli was dropped by Rashid off his own bowling when he was on 68, Jadeja's presence in the middle relaxed the captain and he soon found his groove again.
That groove never left him from there, even after Ravindra Jadeja (25, 46b, 2x4, 1x6) lost his flow, which in turn led to his wicket. However, Jayant Yadav came in and held one end up, allowing Kohli to complete his 15th Test match century. The celebrations after a single got him to the landmark said it all, with the trademark leap and punch in the air, showing just how much this innings meant to him.
Soon, India went past England's score of 400, marching into the lead, with Kohli just twisting the knife into the bowlers.
Scores: First innings: England: 400 all out in 130.1 overs.
India: 451/7 in 142 overs, lead by 51 runs.
Batting in the middle: Virat Kohli (147, 241b, 17x4) and Jayant Yadav (30, 86b, 3x4), partnership 87.
Overnight score: 146/1 in 52 overs.
Bowling: First innings: England: James Anderson 15-5-43-0; Chris Woakes 8-2-34-0; Moeen Ali 45-5-139-2; Adil Rashid 44-5-152-2; Jake Ball 14-5-29-1; Ben Stokes 8-2-24-0; Joe Root 8-2-18-2.
Fall of wickets: First innings: India: 39/1, KL Rahul (14 overs); 146/2, Cheteshwar Pujara (52.2 overs); 262/3, Murali Vijay (87.4 overs); 279/4, Karun Nair (94.1 overs); 305/3, Parthiv Patel (102.4 overs); 307/6, R Ashwin (104.1 overs); 364/7, Ravindra Jadeja (117.5 overs).