India faltered haplessly again in tough conditions as England seized the initiative on the first morning of the fifth Investec Test.
As at Old Trafford last week, when the tourists lost five wickets by lunch after opting to bat, here at the Oval they found immediate trouble once more - this time after Alastair Cook had chosen to bowl first.
Conspicuous movement off the pitch and in the air vindicated his decision - and after a start delayed by light morning rain, India succumbed against pace under cloud cover to the tune of 43 for five.
England's prospects of closing out a much-needed series victory, from 2-1 up, were therefore already significantly ehanced.
James Anderson needed only four deliveries, and Gautam Gambhir's first, to advance one nearer to Sir Ian Botham's England all-time Test wicket-taking record.
Gambhir, recalled to little effect in Manchester, managed only the minimum stay - caught-behind off the face of the bat as he tried unsuccessfully to leave a ball that bounced and seamed alarmingly.
The prodigious new-ball movement continued for both Anderson and Stuart Broad, and it was the latter who struck next when he snaked a perfect ball back through Cheteshwar Pujara's forward-defence to hit the top of off-stump via the number three's front pad.
India tried to dig in. But Virat Kohli's hugely disappointing tour continued when umpire Kumar Dharmasena judged that first-change Chris Jordan had found enough angle back into the batsman to win an lbw verdict with no shot played.
When Jordan doubled up, holding a return chance from Ajinkya Rahane, India's chances of posting a competitive first-innings total were fading fast.
Opener Murali Vijay had stood firm but could not extend his vigil beyond Chris Woakes' second over - Joe Root posted close at gully, wearing a helmet, and holding on to a low, juggling catch as bounce compromised the back-foot defence.