When Moeen Ali had Virat Kohli (44) caught behind to leave India 312-6 in the morning session, the game was on a knife-edge with the tourists 213 ahead.
A couple more quick wickets might even have left England as slight favourites, but instead, Pant (50) and Thakur (60) piled on 100 in 155 morale-sapping balls.
In the hottest conditions of the week at the Oval, England buckled as its opponents thrived. James Anderson and Ollie Robinson added more and more to their wearying workloads but had the look of men who had been asked to give too much.
However, Ajinkya Rahane once again failed to get going and was dismissed without troubling the scorers. Reacting to his poor form, VVS Laxman stated that it is time for the management to drop the veteran batsman.
In an interaction with ESPNcricinfo, Laxman stated that Rahane looked clueless during his eight-ball stay.
“It’s time to give Rahane a break. I am not sure of what the future holds for him. He is a quality player and I always believe that quality players come back into the team. But, the kind of form and confidence he has shown and the body language when he was out there in the middle… Not once during his eight-ball innings did Ajinkya Rahane look convincing,” Laxman stated.