Only Mahendra Singh Dhoni stopped England's seam attack putting an irrevocable stamp already on the fifth Investec Test at The Oval.
Chris Jordan and Chris Woakes, identified by some as the hosts' weak links behind James Anderson and Stuart Broad in England's surge to three-day victory at Old Trafford last week, both cashed in career Test bests as India approached terminal collapse on day one here.
But Dhoni (82), as in Manchester, brought partial rescue as the tourists' first innings – having faltered to an alarming 90 for nine – eventually mustered 148 all out.
Even after England replied with 62 for none at stumps on day one, and therefore have obvious prospects of a match-controlling lead, it was still as yet impossible to be dogmatic about the wider significance of Dhoni's admirable efforts to defy ideal seam-bowling conditions.
At any rate, his fourth half-century of the summer – and eventual contribution of more than half his team's total – limited damage above the embarrassment which persisted for India in the north-west, where they also folded tamely in their second innings.
As last week, when they lost five wickets by lunch having opted to bat, they found immediate trouble once more – this time after Alastair Cook chose to bowl.
Conspicuous movement off the pitch and in the air vindicated his decision, and India succumbed almost to a man against pace under cloud cover.
England's prospects of closing out a much-needed series victory, from 2-1 up, were therefore substantially ehanced despite Dhoni's determination and expert shepherding of his last-wicket stand with Ishant Sharma. Manchester service was resumed by the home seamers, the only difference that it was Jordan (three for 32) and Woakes (three for 30) who proved themselves after Anderson and Broad's early strikes.
Chris Woakes was delighted after England's seamers continued to torment India and fully justified Alastair Cook's decision to put the tourists in to bat on day one of the fifth Investec Test.
Woakes, with three for 30, and Chris Jordan, who took three for 32, both cashed in career bests in Test cricket, while Stuart Broad and James Anderson took two wickets each as India were all out for 148.
With England closing on 62 without loss, captain Cook, unbeaten on 24, and Sam Robson, on 33 not out, will now look to build a match-winning score today.
Woakes told Sky Sports 2: "Having won the toss and choosing to bowl first, we were under a bit of pressure to bowl them out, so to to do it for under 150 is fantastic and then the way the boys batted to get us through to the close was brilliant."
It could have been even worse for India, who were down to 90 for nine at one point, but captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni's defiant knock of 82 from 140 balls made the hosts wait.
Woakes said: "When he is in that sort of mood and batting at the tail he's pretty good at it. He was hard to bowl out, but I thought we did pretty well to restrict them.
"He could have got away from us so to get him out in the end was nice. It would have been nice to get them all out a little bit cheaper but we'd have taken that at the start of the day."
Reflecting on his own performance, Woakes felt not much had changed and he just managed to get his just rewards on the day.
"I'm pretty pleased, I feel like I've bowled pretty well over the last few Test matches but haven't had the rewards I would have liked," he added.
"The pitch was helpful to us today and I felt like I got the ball in decent areas and got the rewards for it."
After making his England debut roughly a year ago, Woakes also admitted that he feels more confident on the international stage now and thinks he is more accurate.