Debutant left arm spinner Axar Patel, who picked two wickets, nearly got Joe Root for the second time, but review showed that the ball hit outside the of stump.
The day belonged to Ashwin and Kohli, who showed how one should bat on a wicket offering variable bounce and sharp turn.
After securing a 195 first innings lead, India, stretched it to a mammoth 481, riding on masterly knocks from Ashwin (106, 148 balls, 14x4, 2x6) and Virat Kohli’s equally well crafted and resolute (62, 149 balls, 7x4), his 24th half century, piled up the misery on England.
This is Ashwin’s fifth test hundred in his 75th match and first in his home town of Chennai, as the crowd, allowed entry for the first time for this test, enjoyed it thoroughly.
This was for the thrid time Ashwin, who showed enough resilience, had scored a century after taking five wickets in the first innings. Earlier he had done twice against West Indies at Mumbai in 2011 and at North Sound in 2016.
For England, left arm spinner Jack Leach and off-spinner Moeen Ali, who got ball to turn and bounce, bagged four wickets each and nippy pacer got on wicket, when Ashwin under-edged him and was the last man out.
Resuming at 54 for one, India lost quick wickets and were reduced to 106 for six on a crumbling pitch, before Kohli and Ashwin added 96 runs in 19.3 overs for the seventh wicket.
It was a masterly innings by Kohli who negated the turn by using his feet against the spinners and was quick to go back if the bowler altered the length, while being severe if width was offered.
Ashwin on the other hand, played with controlled aggression and used the sweep shots effectively against them slow bowlers, while employing a sound defence.
Ashwin’s was a serene knock, which had aggression initially and a sense of composure as he grew in confidence in tackling the spinners, before opening out towards the end, and in the process added 49 runs for the last wicket with Mohd Siraj in 55 balls.
In fact Ashwin needed 23 runs when Siraj joined him. the No.11 defended well till Ashwin reached his century, hitting a six over mid wicket, followed it by a brace and an edgy boundary to third man fence of Moeen Ali.
With two full days remaining, England needed a miracle to save the test, while India needed seven wickets to level the four match series 1-1.
Following is the scoreboard:
India (first innings): 329
England (first innings): 134
India (second innings): 286
England (second innings):
Rory Burns c Kohli b Ashwin 25
Dom Sibley lbw Axar Patel 3
Dan Lawrence (batting) 19
Jack Leach c Rohit Sharma b Axar Patel 0
Joe Root (batting) 2
Extras: (b-4) 4
Total: 53 for three in 19 overs.
Fall of wickets: 1-17, 2-49, 3-50.
Ishant Sharma 2-1-6-0
Axar Patel 9-3-15-2
R Ashwin 8-1-28-1. (UNI)