Star batsman Virat Kohli smashed a massive double century before England slumped to 182-6 at stumps on day four as India closed in on victory in the fourth Test Sunday.
Captain Kohli struck 235 runs for his third double ton of the year and Jayant Yadav scored a maiden Test century to fire India to a huge first innings score of 631.
England require something extraordinary to happen to avoid a Test and series defeat after a host of their top-order batsmen then wilted in the Mumbai heat, leaving the visitors trailing by 49 runs going into the final day.
England lost three quick wickets in just 13.2 overs at the Wankhede Stadium as their second innings got off to a nightmare start, all but ending their hopes of mounting a comeback.
Keaton Jennings, who scored a century on his Test debut in the first innings, went for a golden duck, out lbw off Indian medium pace bowler Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
Left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja then took captain Alastair Cook for 18 and Moeen Ali, who lasted only three balls and failed to get off the mark.
Joe Root and Jonny Bairstow did their best to restore some respectability by putting on a fourth-wicket partnership of 92 before the former was bowled lbw by Yadav for 77 runs.
Ben Stokes came and went for 18 while Bairstow was unbeaten on 50 at stumps.
"Our spinners bowled in good areas consistently" said Yadav, who lavished praise on India's talismanic Kohli for helping guide the number nine batsman to his 104-run knock.
"Whenever you're batting with Virat, things feel easier," he said.
Kohli blasted a double century that included 25 fours and one six during his 340-ball stay.
It marked his third double century of 2016 in what has been a sensational and record-breaking year for the Indian skipper.
"He's very much suited to playing in these conditions. If you're not bang on the money and take your chances then he'll punish you," England bowler James Anderson said of Kohli.
The 28-year-old Kohli put on a massive 241-run partnership with Yadav as England failed to take any wickets during the morning session.
Kohli removed his helmet and raised his bat to the adoring crowd as he brought up his double ton with a single off his 302nd ball of the match.
The right-hander has been the standout batsman of the year, scoring a double century against the West Indies in July before repeating the feat against New Zealand in October.
He was eventually caught out by Anderson from Chris Woakes.
England, who scored 400 in their first innings, must win to keep the series alive going into the fifth Test in Chennai, a feat that now looks all but impossible.
"We're going to come here tomorrow and try to fight our way back into the game if we can," said Anderson.
SCORES IN BRIEF
ENDLAND: First innings 400 all out
INDIA: First innings 631 all out (Kohli 235, Vijay 136, Yadav 104; Rashid 4-192, Root 2-31)
ENGLAND: Second innings 182 for 6 (Root 77, Bairstow 50 not out; Jadeja 2-58, Ashwin 2-49)