England head into the final day of the third Test seven wickets away from a victory that would tie the five-game series against the West Indies at 1-1.
England captain Andrew Strauss set West Indies a mammoth target of 503 to win after declaring at 221 for eight at the Antigua Recreation Ground on Wednesday and then picked up three wickets as the hosts reached 143-3 at the close.
West Indies need a further 360 to win with Ramnaresh Sarwan 47 not out and Shivnarine Chanderpaul undefeated on 18.
Although the pitch in the hastily rearranged match has endured well, West Indies do not have a good record of batting for survival in recent years and England will be bitterly disappointed if they cannot turn their dominance throughout this Test into victory.
"The way we have bowled in this series so far, sticking to our task, searching for reverse swing, and then we'll have a new ball before tea, I'm pretty confident we can do it," fast bowler Steve Harmison told reporters.
England will, though, be hampered by a hip injury to Andrew Flintoff who was restricted to just three overs on Wednesday.
Opener Devon Smith was trapped lbw on the back foot by Harmison to break a promising first wicket stand of 59.
With huge responsibility on his shoulders, skipper Chris Gayle looked in good form as he moved to 35.
But, as in the first innings, a loose stroke cost him dear and he was rapped on the pads attempted to sweep Graeme Swann's off-spin.
At 81 for two, any thought of a record run chase had surely been discarded by West Indies who were now in a simple survival battle.
England 1st inns 566/9 dec.
West Indies 1st inns 285
England 2nd inns: Strauss c D S Smith b Edwards 14, Cook c D S Smith b Hinds 58, Anderson c Ramdin b Powell 20, Shah b Powell 14, Pietersen c Ramdin b Benn 32, Collingwood b Hinds 34, Prior not out 15, Broad run out 1, Flintoff c Hinds b Benn 0, Harmison not out 7
Extras: 26 (b-12, lb-3, w-5, nb-6)
Total: (For 8 wkts) 221 dec.
Fall of wkts: 1-23, 2-69, 3-97, 4-145, 5-189, 6-195, 7-201, 8-206.
Bowling: Edwards 9-1-36-1, Taylor 9-2-34-0, Powell 7-0-33-2, Benn 14-1-58-2, Hinds 11-1-45-2.
West Indies 2nd inns: Gayle lbw b Swann 46, Smith lbw b Harmison 21, Sarwan batting 47, Hinds c Shah b Broad 6, Chanderpaul batting 18
Extras: 5 (lb-4, nb-1); Total: (for 3 wkts) 143; Fall of wkts: 1-59, 2-81, 3-96.
Bowling: Anderson 9-2-24-0, Broad 9-2-22-1, Swann 16-4-50-1, Harmison 6-0-17-1, Flintoff 3-1-12-0, Pietersen 2-0-14-0.