Zaheer Khan may have spent most of the first Test against England off the field with a hamstring injury but fellow India seamer Ishant Sharma credited him with a key role in his own Lord's revival.
The 22-year-old Sharma, a fast-medium bowler, looked decidedly unthreatening during a return of none for 128 in 32 overs as England piled up 474 for eight declared in their first innings.
But the tall paceman was a bowler transformed in the second innings as, with left-armer Zaheer still sidelined, he took four for 59 in 22 overs.
That included a dramatic spell before lunch Sunday of three for one in 16 balls that featured a double-wicket maiden.
Kevin Pietersen, who made a double century in the first innings, was caught behind for one and Ian Bell went for a duck after also nicking to India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Sharma, asked to explain his personal turnaround, said he'd struggled initially with the eight foot slope that runs across the ground.
But he added Zaheer's suggestion of switching to the Nursery End, which helps take the ball down the slope and away from right-handed batsmen, had been the key to his success.
"I am playing my first match at Lord's so I was not used to the slope and how to use it," Sharma told reporters.
"My natural ball is in the inswinger but the odd ball was holding its line and I did not know much how it was happening.
"Before the second innings I spoke to Zak, who helped me with some ideas, including bowling from the Nursery End."
However, Sharma added: "I would have been more happy if I bowled similar lines and with the same energy in the first innings as then we could have been in a different position in the match."
Thanks mainly to Sharma, England collapsed to 62 for five on Sunday.
But they ended up making 269 for six declared on the back of Matt Prior's 103 not out and an unbeaten 74 from Stuart Broad, with the duo's unbroken seventh-wicket stand worth 162 at nearly a run-a-ball.
That enabled England to set India 458 for victory -- and no side in what is now the 2,000 match history of Test cricket has made more to win in the fourth innings than the 418 for seven posted by the West Indies against Australia in Antigua in 2002/03.
India, at Sunday's close, were 80 for one needing a further 378 runs to win in a minimum 98 overs on Monday's final day.
Rahul Dravid, who made a first innings century, was 34 not out and Venkatsai Laxman unbeaten on 32.
Prior, whose hundred was his second in as many Tests at Lord's following his 126 against Sri Lanka last month, said: "I think we're probably just ahead."
The wicketkeeper, playing his natural game, faced just 120 balls, including a six and five fours.
It was Prior's sixth century in 44 Tests and third in all at Lord's where he made 126 not out on debut against the West Indies in 2007.
"I wasn't really expecting to be batting before lunch," said Prior who bats at number seven.
"I was looking at the menu and thinking 'I'll have the rack of lamb, that'll be nice' and there I was taking guard."
The likes of India's Sachin Tendulkar and Australia's Ricky Ponting have yet to make a Test hundred at Lord's but Prior now has three of them to his credit.
"What's not to love about it?," said the 29-year-old Sussex gloveman.
"It's a flat deck, a quick outfield, the sun shines whenever I walk out to bat here," Prior added.
"It's a special place. I made my debut here and started pretty well, I always love coming back."