Chasing 276-run target, India lost Rahul Dravid (31) early against West Indies on the fourth day of the first Test at the Feroz Shah Kotla stadium in New Delhi on Wednesday.
Windies pacer Fidel Edwards gave the visitors a lifeline in the match when he clean bowled Dravid in the fourth over of the day. Dravid could only add a run to his overnight score.
India resumed the run chase on the fourth day requiring 124 more runs to win the Test and take a 1-0 lead in the three-match series against the Windies.
India had their nose ahead after they safely negotiated the West Indies bowlers on a tricky pitch as they finished the third day comfortably at 152/2 on Tuesday.
Tamil Nadu off-spinner Ravichandran Aswhin had vindicated his selection into the Test side with a five-for on debut, before Virender Sehwag (55 off 55 balls) provided the impetus to India's innings with a typically aggressive knock, to leave the hosts within 124 runs from a victory on the third day.
At stumps, a resolute Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar's unbroken third-wicket partnership has yielded 57 runs so far.
Seeking to score a record 100th international ton, Tendulkar on Tuesday completed 15,000 runs in this form of the game when he pushed Devendra Bishoo towards extra cover, and along with Dravid, would look to ensure that Ashwin's superlative effort of six for 47 doesn't go in vain on Wednesday.
After Aswhin helped the hosts bowl out the visitors for a paltry 180 in their second innings, Sehwag along with Gautam Gambhir (22 off 32) started the chase in right earnest, putting on 51 runs in less than 10 overs. During his 80-minute stay at the crease, Sehwag delighted a turnout of 14,422 as well as he can with his pyrotechnics.
West Indies skipper Darren Sammy provided the timely breakthrough by disturbing the Delhi batsman's timber. It was his second fifty of the match, and 29th overall.
Sehwag was lucky to have survived as he was dropped by Ravi Rampaul in his follow-through just before the tea-break, but West Indies struck at the start of the final session, when Samuels rapped Gambhir on his pads.
Sehwag then added 44 runs for the second wicket before Sammy put the brakes on the former's innings, to signal the arrival of Sachin Tendulkar at the crease.
Earlier, inspired by Pragyan Ojha's first-innings performance, Ashwin stole the limelight through some smart spin bowling on a treacherous Feroz Shah Kotla track where 27 wickets have gone down in the last two days.
In the process, Ashwin became the seventh Indian to begin his Test career with a five-for, and his match haul nine for 128 is also the second-best for an Indian on debut behind Narendra Hirwani's 16 for 136, incidentally, against the same opponents, on an underprepared Chennai track back in 1988.
Ashwin, who dismissed opener Kieran Powell late on Monday evening to trigger the slide, deservingly signalled the end of the West Indies innings by having Ravi Rampaul caught at deep midwicket.
Just before Rampaul's dismissal, the 25-year-old off-spinner from Chennai removed Darren Sammy (42) with his trademark carom ball that skidded off the wicket, hardly giving the West Indian skipper any time to get his bat down.
But nothing would have given Ashwin more satisfaction than the prized scalp of Shivnarine Chanderpaul (47).
Chanderpaul's was the wicket India had been looking for, and Ashwin responded to the team's needs, though the tail did hung in for a while to frustrate the Indians.
Thanks to Ashwin's effort, it did not take India more than 42.3 overs on the third day to bowl out the visitors, whose suffered due to a lack of a decent partnership.