England's slim chances of winning the one-day international series against India were fast disappearing as the tourists set off in pursuit of 227 all out at Trent Bridge.
Victory here would give India a 2-0 lead with only two to play in the Royal London Series, as they seek consolation for their Test series defeat and momentum in the 50-over format before next year's World Cup.
Their spinners have taken 13 English wickets in two innings to date, six here on an unusual ODI surface, and India were well placed to cash in with a second successive victory as they moved to 74 for one from 15 overs.
Chris Woakes had Shikhar Dhawan caught from a fierce cut to point.
But Ajinkya Rahane, opening in the absence of the injured Rohit Sharma, nonetheless appeared to be putting his team on the fast track to a comfortable success in company with Virat Kohli.
England's batsmen had got themselves in a tangle against spin again after an opening stand of 82 put them on course for a much more substantial total.
They failed to cope adequately against Ravi Ashwin (three for 39) et al as they went 26 overs at one point with just a solitary boundary and failed to muster an individual half-century.
England's desultory innings, after being put in on a cloudy morning, was on no one's mind while Alastair Cook and Alex Hales were sharing their second successive 50 partnership.
In his third and last over - before hobbling off with an ankle injury - Mohit Sharma dropped short to Cook and was pulled for England's first boundary and then gave Hales the width he craves and was driven past cover for two more consecutive fours.
Yet just when England seemed to have an ideal platform, their problems set in as Hales edged a sweep at Suresh Raina via his pad to Mahendra Singh Dhoni.
Cook charged too early at part-time off-spinner Ambati Rayudu, playing here only because of Rohit's broken finger and bowling thanks only to Mohit's sore foot.
It summed up Cook's travails that he managed to be out for two reasons - officially stumped, after Rayudu saw him coming and pushed the ball down the leg side, but also caught behind off a thin edge - to an opponent billed as a batsman and previously without an international wicket.
Dhoni immediately withdrew Rayudu, job done after two overs.
But Joe Root succumbed immediately to Ravindra Jadeja, spinning one past the outside edge for another sharp stumping.
Eoin Morgan and Ian Bell tried to rebuild. But the left-hander fell to some turn from Ashwin, India's sole frontline slow bowler who found the edge on the back-foot defence for Dhoni's second catch.
Mohit, in such pain earlier, proved himself unexpectedly recovered to the extent he was able to administer the next blow to England's hopes by throwing the stumps down from wide long off to run Bell out as he came back for a second from Jos Buttler's drive.
Nothing was going right for the hosts, and their powerplay became a non-event after getting off on the wrong foot when more turn from Ashwin - and a blinding one-handed slip catch by a diving Raina - saw off Ben Stokes.
Only 12 runs, all in singles, came from what in more accustomed circumstances is a pivotal and strategic five overs as Woakes and Buttler instead had to be intent on preserving wickets for the last 10 - in which England had enough resources left to scramble past 200 thanks to some late hitting from number nine James Tredwell.