James Anderson and Stuart Broad each took three wickets to leave India in trouble on 323 for eight, 246 runs adrift of England, after the third day of the third Test on Tuesday.
Anderson picked up three for 52 while fast bowling partner Broad shrugged aside some indifferent recent performances to snatch three for 65.
The pair were well backed up by spinner Moeen Ali who took two for 62 after being banned by the International Cricket Council from sporting the "Save Gaza" and "Free Palestine" wristbands he wore on Monday.
Ajinkya Rahane and Mahendra Singh Dhoni made half-centuries but England, 1-0 down in the five-match series, are in control as they bid to win their first Test in 11 outings.
Resuming on 25 for one, the dangerous Broad quickly removed Cheteshwar Pujara (24) and Murali Vijay (35).
Anderson tempted Virat Kohli (39) into a tentative prod outside off stump after lunch and the edge was snapped up by captain Alastair Cook.
Moeen then removed Rohit Sharma for 28, ending a watchful stand of 74 with Rahane.
The spinner also claimed Rahane's wicket following an elegant 54, top-edging a short delivery to substitute fielder Sean Terry at mid-wicket.
The dismissal was another example of India's batsmen being victims of their own downfall as they showed poor shot selection throughout.
Dhoni and Ravindra Jadeja led a brief revival, displaying the counter-attacking style that helped guide India to victory in the last Test at Lord's.
When their seventh-wicket partnership had reached 58 Anderson bowled a beauty to Jadeja that nipped back and cannoned into his pads to leave the tourists on the ropes.
Lower-order batsman Bhuvneshwar Kumar, who has hit three half-centuries on the tour, fell to Broad for 19, edging on to his pads and watching the ball loop up to Gary Ballance at slip.
Dhoni struck a patient unbeaten 50 and will resume with Mohammed Shami (four) on Wednesday morning as India look to scrape past the follow-on mark of 370.
Image: Stuart Broad celebrates after having India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara caught by Jos Buttler to claim his 250th Test wicket during day three of the 3rd Investec Test at Ageas Bowl in Southampton
Photo: Stu Forster/Getty Images