Nagpur, Dec 14: India's batting woes continued to haunt them with the top-order batsmen succumbing tamely yet again as England snapped up four quick wickets to gain firm control of the crucial fourth and final Test on Friday.
After posting a decent score of 330 in the first innings, the visitors exploited the slow and uneven bounce of the track to leave India gasping at a precarious 87 for four at close on an eventful second day which saw nine wickets fall.
Paceman James Anderson (3/24) did the bulk of the damage while Graeme Swann chipped in with a wicket as the out-of-form Indian batsmen put up another pathetic display with none of them willing to show the application and temperament to hang in there.
Virat Kohli (11) and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (8) were at the crease when stumps were drawn for the day, with the hosts still trailing by 243 runs.
Earlier, resuming at the overnight score of 199 for five, England did well to stretch their first innings total to 330 with debutant Joe Root(73), Matt Prior (57) and Swann (56) being the notable contributors.
Leg-spinner Piyush Chawla was the pick of the Indian bowlers with a career-best haul of 4/69 while paceman Ishant Sharma (3/49) and R Ashwin (1/66) were the other wicket-takers.
The failure of India's famed batsmen again let the team down badly as Virender Sehwag (0),Gautam Gambhir (37), Cheteshwar Pujara (26) and Sachin Tendulkar (2) could not stay for long. Tendulkar was bowled by Anderson who has now dismissed him nine times, the highest by any bowler.
With three full days left in the match, England have put themselves on course for their first series win on Indian soil in 28 years. India, on the other hand, will have to bat out of their skins to save the ignominy of their third successive humiliating defeat.