(CNN) -- Ian Bell compiled a brilliant century to put England firmly in the driving seat in the second Test at Trent Bridge but was handed a dramatic reprieve by India.
The hosts scored 417 runs on day three to lead India by 374 with Kevin Pietersen, Eoin Morgan and Matt Prior all completing half centuries but it was a controversial incident involving Bell that dominated proceedings.
Bell was on 137 when Morgan clipped the final ball before the tea interval towards the boundary. Believing it had gone for four both batsman began to walk off the pitch.
But the ball hadn't crossed the line and when it was thrown back in Abhinav Mukund took the bails off and appealed for the run out.
The umpires then referred the decision to the third umpire, who watched the replays on television before deciding that Bell was out, much to the chagrin of the 20,000 crowd in Nottingham.
But during the tea break the Indian side withdrew their appeal after discussions with the England captain and coach and Bell was allowed to resume his innings.
Bell added just 22 more runs before departing for 159.
His knock was accompanied by a confident innings from Pietersen, who scored 63, and a flowing 70 from Morgan, as England tried to take the game away from their opponents.
England's wicketkeeper Matt Prior punished a tired Indian attack in the final session, making 64 off just 55 balls, with good support from Tim Bresnan (47) as the hosts closed on 441-6.
Bell told reporters:"I've learned a lot of lessons, I admit I was very naive," Bell told reporters. "I won't ever do that again. I've got to take some blame. To walk off for tea was very naive, a bit stupid."
India's decision to allow Bell to continue his innings was applauded by the England team and by the England and Wales Cricket Board, who said it "demonstrates the true spirit in which the game of cricket should be played."
The International Cricket Council also saluted the decision.
Indian batsman Raul Dravid told reporters: "If you look at the laws of the game and adhere to them strictly, then probably he was out.
"But just in the spirit of the game it didn't feel right and Dhoni and the team felt the right thing to do was to ask him to bat again."
With four wickets remaining and two days still to go England are well placed to go 2-0 up in the four-match series.
If they win the series by two Tests they will leapfrog India as the number one side in the world.