England led by 319 at lunch on day four, in pursuit of a declaration before trying to bowl India out a second time in the third Investec Test at the Ageas Bowl.
Alastair Cook unsurprisingly opted against enforcing the follow-on after James Anderson (five for 53) had marked his 32nd birthday by taking India's last two wickets quickly.
Anderson bounced out Mahendra Singh Dhoni and then Mohammed Shami in the space of six balls as the tourists were bowled out for 330.
Cook, however, was not tempted to put the tourists straight back in again - preferring a rest for his bowlers, who needed 106.1 overs to take 10 wickets first time round.
Instead, the England captain helped to guide his team to 80 for two in 20.5 overs - number three Gary Ballance providing much-needed impetus in a half-century stand after Sam Robson edged some seam movement from Bhuvneshwar Kumar to slip.
First-innings centurion Ballance then appeared a little unlucky to be given out caught at short-leg off Ravindra Jadeja to what was therefore the last ball of the session.
Dhoni had earlier gloved an attempted hook behind without addition to the 50 he reached the previous evening, and Shami was also snaffled by Jos Buttler behind the stumps as India managed to add only seven runs on another glorious day.