Chennai: Resuming from an overnight score of 155-6, the hosts collapsed to 249-9 after a resilient 75-run partnership between captain MS Dhoni and Harbhajan Singh Dhoni scored 53 important runs to reduce England"s lead to two digits. MS became Panesar"s third victim of the match.
Dhoni completed his fourth half-century against England, when he flicked a Graeme Swann delivery to mid-wicket for a single.
Dhoni, who resumed overnight on 24, rocking onto the back foot in the second over to cut all-rounder Andrew Flintoff for the first boundary of the day.
The bigger threat appeared to be posed by left-arm spinner Monty Panesar from the other end, who almost claimed the first breakthrough in the seventh over of the morning when Dhoni edged just short of Ian Bell at short leg on 38.
England also thought they had ended the partnership in the next over when Steve Harmison, whose scan on his sore right knee is expected to give him the all-clear, almost struck with his third ball.
Replacing Flintoff in the attack, Harmison thought he strangled Harbhajan down the leg side with Prior taking a diving catch, but umpire Billy Bowden rejected the appeal with television replays inconclusive about whether the ball had hit bat or pad and whether the catch had been taken cleanly.
Harbhajan reverse swept for another boundary in Panesar's next over to bring up the half-century partnership in just 63 balls and then hit Harmison for successive fours when he changed ends to take India past 200.