England lost their top three batsmen cheaply before Kevin Pietersen and Ian Bell steadied the ship with a fluent partnership of 137.
Pietersen was caught at slip off Marlon Samuels for 78 and Jonny Bairstow was clean bowled by Best for 18, but Bell remained unbeaten on 76 as England reached 221-5 at the close, still 205 behind.
With only one day's play remaining, and rain forecast, a draw seems inevitable, but thanks to the heroics of Best an otherwise forgettable Test will live long in the memory.
When the Windies lost their ninth wicket in the first over of the day, it appeared England would soon be setting about overhauling a total of less than 300.
Top scores by a number 11 in Test cricket
- T Best, West Indies v England, 2012
- Z Khan, India v Bangladesh, 2004
- R Collinge, New Zealand v Pakistan, 1973
- A Vogler, South Africa v England, 1906
- G McGrath, Australia v New Zealand, 2004
But Best had other ideas, the stocky fast bowler from Barbados launching into a thrilling counter-attack.
He threw the bat at anything wide from the seamers and cut successive balls from Graeme Swann for four to go past his previous highest Test score of 27.
He became the first number 11 to score a fifty against England since 1906, launching into an exuberant arm-wheeling celebration on reaching the mark.
He surpassed India paceman Zaheer Khan's record for a number 11 of 75 with a four over gully then hammered Tim Bresnan's next ball over the bowler's head for six.
Meanwhile Ramdin, dropped by Pietersen in the gully on 69, played watchfully at the other end before accelerating through the nineties to bring up his second Test century - and first for 22 innings - off 160 balls.
Another extraordinary celebration followed as Ramdin removed a piece of paper from his pocket carrying the words "Yeah Viv Talk Nah" - a riposte to criticism of his batting on Test Match Special from Windies legend Sir Viv Richards.
With the crowd willing Best to reach three figures, the pressure seemed to tell, and after almost falling twice to Jonathan Trott's part-time medium pace, he was deceived by a slower ball from Graham Onions and caught by Andrew Strauss running back from slip.
Best was not out of the action for long, and he was soon testing out the England openers with deliveries in excess of 90mph.
Sir Viv RichardsBBC Test Match Special
"Tino Best certainly doesn't look like a number 11, but it's the first time in this series that the England attack, with no Anderson or Broad, has been found wanting and it's because of the aggression of Best. If this match was being played in the Caribbean everyone would have been in the trees or on top of the pavilion, they'd be going mad. People love to see this type of innings. All praise to him."
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