Ian Bell completed a maiden Test double century as England continued to pile on the runs against India in the series finale at The Oval here on Saturday.
Bell’s 235 was the cornerstone of England’s 591 for six at lunch on the third day of the fourth Test.
England, already 3-0 up and looking to complete a whitewash in this four-match series, lost three wickets in the session but that did them little damage, with the rain that fell at lunch more of a concern.
Ravi Bopara, in for the injured Jonathan Trott, was 44 not out after managing just seven in England’s innings and 242-run win at Edgbaston last week that saw then replace India at the top of the ICC’s Test Championship table.
Matt Prior was unbeaten on 18.
Three India bowlers have conceded more than 100 runs each, with leg-spinner Amit Mishra (none for 170 off 38 overs) the most expensive.
England resumed on their overnight score of 457 for three.
Bell was 181 not out after sharing an England record stand against India of 350 with Kevin Pietersen (175).
James Anderson, bizarrely sent in as a nightwatchman, was three not out.
Bell played one of the best shots of his innings early Saturday when he on-drove paceman Ishant Sharma down the ground in classic fashion.
Anderson added a few boundaries too before he was caught by second slip Venkatsai Laxman off seamer Shanthakumaran Sreessanth for 13.
Sreesanth struck again when he had Eoin Morgan, caught behind by India captain and wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
But England were still well-placed at 487 for five.
Bell, whose previous Test-best was 199 against South Africa at Lord’s in 2008, went to his double century with a glanced four down to fine leg off Sreesanth.
But the 29-year-old Warwickshire’s fifth Test century of the year came to an end when he was lbw to spinner Suresh Raina after missing a sweep.
That set the seal on a sublime innings of nearly eight-and-a-half hours where Bell faced 364 balls with 23 fours and two straight sixes off successive balls from Mishra.
It also meant Bell had become the leading run-scorer in Test cricket this year, with 950 runs at an average of 118.75 and, emphasising England’s recent success, led team-mates Alastair Cook (927) and Pietersen (731) at the top of that table.