England lost four wickets in the afternoon session as Jasprit Bumrah gave India the upper hand on day two of the second Test in Visakhapatnam.
With James Anderson on song with the new ball, the tourists had earlier taken four for 60 runs to keep India to what seemed a manageable total of 396.
But despite the best efforts of birthday boy Zak Crawley, who peppered the boundary ropes in a free-flowing 76 at the top of the order, Bumrah’s brilliance had England 155 for four at the tea break.
In a devilish spell of reverse swing and seam, he had Joe Root caught cheaply at slip before detonating two of Ollie Pope’s stumps with a vicious yorker in his following over.
With Ben Stokes and Jonny Bairstow still at the crease, England will not have given up on making a serious dent in the Indian lead but the efforts of home opener Yashasvi Jaiswal, who was finally dismissed for 209, could yet prove the difference.
England started their innings with a typically vibrant stand between Crawley and Ben Duckett, who put on 59 at a run-a-ball either side of the lunch break.
Duckett could not kick on, popping Kuldeep Yadav’s wrist spin to silly point on 21, but Crawley was in fine form on the day he turned 26.
He saw a tough chance go down at short midwicket on 17 and exploded into life almost immediately.
The next over after his reprieve saw him dispatch Bumrah for four boundaries, including a pull in front of square and two immaculate on-drives. Ravichandran Ashwin fared little better, slog swept for six and then stroked with minimal fuss for two fours through the off side.
For a time India could not bowl to him but his knock was a sprint rather than a marathon.
The first over of Axar Patel brought it to an end, Crawley aiming a booming shot down the ground but failing to make a proper connection. It needed a fine diving catch from Shreyas Iyer, a smart take that bought India some much-needed breathing space.
By now they sensed the ball was reversing and Bumrah was ready to return. Root allowed a couple to sail through in the channel but when the paceman threatened to nip one back, the Englishman bit. He felt for contact as it held its line off the pitch and pinged a catch to slip with just five scored.
Six balls later, Bumrah had a second as he sent Pope’s middle and leg stumps flying in opposite directions. It was a brutal delivery and one that cut off the man who made a match-winning 196 last week in Hyderabad on 23.
Bairstow (24no) and Stokes held out to the end of the session without further damage but have a fight on their hands in the evening with England still 241 behind.
The morning had belonged in large part to Anderson. At 41 years of age he showed all of his experience as he bowled unchanged from one end and claimed two for 17.
It was metronomic stuff from the old stager, who had Ashwin caught behind to have the final word in a minor spat between the pair, and then dismissed the ebullient Jaiswal.
The 22-year-old seems destined for cricketing superstardom and threw his arms out in the style of Jude Bellingham when he brought up his double ton with a six and a four off Shoaib Bashir.
But he soon learned why so few over the years have slogged Anderson and survived to tell the tale. Stepping away and aiming for the stands, he only got half a connection and picked out Bairstow at deep cover.
Job done, Anderson handed over to the next generation, with wickets for Rehan Ahmed and Bashir leaving all three with three-wicket hauls.