India's Mohammed Shami took two wickets in two balls either side of lunch before running out England captain Joe Root for 48 in the fourth Test at Southampton on Saturday.
England were 152 for five in their second innings at tea on the third day, a lead of 125 runs, with Ben Stokes 20 not out and Jos Buttler 22 not out.
The match was still in the balance, however, with India not wanting to chase much more than 200 to win on a wearing pitch in their quest for a victory that would leave the five-match series level at 2-2 ahead of next week's finale at The Oval.
Shami had Keaton Jennings (36) lbw with what became the last ball before lunch and the first ball of the second session saw him clean bowl Jonny Bairstow for a golden duck to leave England 92 for four.
Root survived the hat-trick at the start of Shami's next over.
But, for the second time this series, he was run out when well well set after he failed to beat Shami's direct hit from mid-on after being called through for a needless run by Stokes.
England started Saturday's play on six without loss.
They were then 21 runs behind, after Cheteshwar Pujara's excellent 132 not out, his maiden Test century in England, had guided India to a first-innings total of 27, with recalled off-spinner Moeen Ali taking five for 63.
Alastair Cook (two not out), England's all-time leading Test run-scorer, and fellow left-handed opener Jennings (four not out) were both in need of runs.
But Cook fell for 12 when, drawn into a loose drive off fast bowler Jasprit Bumrah, he got an edge that second slip KL Rahul clung onto at the third attempt.
England were now 24 for one and that was soon transformed into 33 for two.
Ali, surprisingly promoted to number three instead of Root, became the latest victim of Ishant Sharma's excellent bowling to left-handed batsmen from around the wicket when an edged drive was superbly caught low down by Rahul.
A third umpire review confirmed that Rahul had taken his latest impressive slip catch this series, with the recalled Ali -- who had made a valuable 40 in England's first-innings 246 -- out for nine.
Root came in next and was soon square-driving Bumrah for a stylish four.
It had looked as if Jennings, under pressure for his England place after a first-innings nought, would bat through the morning until Shami, from round the wicket, had him lbw.
His dismissal was made worse by the fact England wasted a review when Jennings was clearly out.
England decided to play Bairstow as a specialist batsman even though he was nursing a broken finger suffered during India's 203-run win in the third Test at Trent Bridge last week that meant he could not keep wicket.
It was a move that did not pay off, with Bairstow suffering a second nought in three innings when he extravagantly tried to drive a Shami inswinger off the first ball he faced.
Stokes again showed plenty of determination with the bat either side of the run out of Root, although the England skipper's lack of a dive did not help him beat Shami's throw.
Root faced 88 balls, including six fours.