England had only the most fleeting glimpse of a shot at a highly improbable victory before India debutant Stuart Binny made a stalemate inevitable again at Trent Bridge.
This first Investec Test has appeared to be headed for a draw from the outset, or at any rate since the earliest realisation four days ago that a conspicuous absence of pace in the Nottingham pitch would surely stop either team forcing a result.
For just a few minutes on the final morning, after Stuart Broad took two of three wickets to fall in the first hour, there was the outside chance England could continue that rate of progress and set up a run chase.
Binny (78) put paid to that fanciful theory, however, in stands of 65 with Ravindra Jadeja and then 91 with Bhuvneshwar Kumar as India took tea on 347 for eight and 308 in front.
England, and Broad in particular, briefly found the secret of how to make the most of conditions which have confounded bowlers for the vast majority of this match.
Cloud cover, after rain caused a delayed start, perhaps helped and India, from the apparently untroubled resumption point of 167 for three, lost three wickets for 21 runs.
Broad, as so often for England, was the catalyst.
He began by having Virat Kohli lbw toppling over in defence, and it was swing too that then had Ajinkya Rahane edging behind.
Broad should also have had Mahendra Singh Dhoni caught at slip where Alastair Cook, necessarily advanced because of the lifeless pitch, could not hold an obvious chance.
Broad, bowling in tandem with James Anderson, nonetheless served up an impressive spell of two for six in six overs, and when his replacement Liam Plunkett then ensured Cook's drop would not be costly by defeating Dhoni's loose drive and bowling the India captain with a touch of inswing, it seemed England might have a sniff after all.
Jadeja, however, was in the middle of a curious but hugely valuable innings and his partnership with Binny took critical time out of England's attempts to force the pace.
The left-hander played and missed numerous times and needed 38 deliveries to get off the mark, which he duly did by walking at Anderson and smashing a four back over the bowler's head.
The seventh-wicket pair stalled England until after lunch when, with the second new ball in his armoury, Anderson had Jadeja pushing slightly away from his front pad and edging another to Matt Prior.
Binny found a second ally in Kumar, however, and as it doubtless dawned on Cook that this game was up, the best he could do was ensure no further pointless exercise for his two frontline bowlers after 113 overs between them here to no ultimate avail with another four Tests to come in the next 37 days.
Binny took advantage as he and Kumar milked the runs on offer at a rate of more than four-and-a-half an over, and he passed his maiden Test 50 in 86 balls.
Moeen Ali (three for 86) turned one from round the wicket to beat Binny's forward push and win another lbw verdict.
There would be no century on debut after all therefore in a match which remained of further interest only because of the prospect Cook may yet be required to bat, with time left only for the under-fire England captain to fail again rather than properly arrest his worrying run of form.