The tourists' last four wickets could muster only 14 runs, and then they were unable to take one of their own this morning, but - after Virender Sehwag was bowled by Graeme Swann with the first ball of the afternoon - India went from 86 for none to 107 for four.
As tea approached, they were 122 for six and still 85 adrift of making England bat again in pursuit of victory and a 2-1 series lead after their first-innings 523 all out India's second innings began with a four from the first ball, Gautam Gambhir squeezing an inside-edge square off James Anderson.
England had a half-chance to see off each of the openers before lunch. But Sehwag escaped on seven when Swann could not hang on to a low one-handed catch to his left at second slip off Anderson; then Gambhir pushed Panesar off the face of the bat to short-leg, where Ian Bell could not quite react in time.
By lunch, the most worrying aspect for the tourists was the increasing ease with which Sehwag in particular was playing their spinners, but they need not have been concerned - because Swann produced the perfect off-break to draw the drive, beat the bat and hit the outside of off-stump straight after the break.
Gambhir had accepted the blame in the first innings for Sehwag's run-out, and perhaps will need to do likewise for his part in a faulty single which saw off Cheteshwar Pujara thanks to Bell's direct hit from midwicket.
Transient controversy followed when Gambhir escaped on 36, umpire Rod Tucker apparently initially satisfied he had edged to slip but unsure whether the ball had carried to a diving Jonathan Trott.
It had, but the third umpire also seemed to convey the fact Gambhir had not got bat on ball after all. The right decision, it appeared, had been reached via a grey area in the established process for series not involving DRS.
But the fact that Gambhir followed some reverse-swing from Steven Finn to edge behind just four runs later relegated the discussion, and it appeared less relevant still when Sachin Tendulkar was next out - edging a Swann arm ball to slip.
Yuvraj Singh and Virat Kohli's attempt to stop the rot did not last long either, before the left-hander was bowled by one from Anderson that snaked in from round the wicket and kept low. Skipper MS Dhoni was not far behind, edging Anderson to Cook at first slip for a duck.
- Sports & Recreation
- Gautam Gambhir
- Graeme Swann
- Virender Sehwag
- James Anderson