James Anderson took a Test-best five-for-42 on his return to the side to give England the advantage over India in their series opener at Lord's on Saturday.
England were 77-for-two in their second innings - a lead of 174 - at stumps on the third day after India had collapsed to 201-all-out.
Zaheer Khan took two wickets in three balls for no runs as India fought back in the field but it remained to be seen if the tourists' star-studded batting line-up could produce a better performance second time around.
England captain Michael Vaughan was 16-not-out and Kevin Pietersen 15-not-out at stumps, the duo surviving a tricky nine overs late on after play resumed following a rain break.
Left-arm quick Khan, who ended the day with figures of two-for-36 in 14 overs, had Andrew Strauss defensively edging to first slip Sachin Tendulkar.
England then saw 40-for-one become 43-for-two when Alastair Cook, their other left-handed opener, was leg-before-wicket.
Anderson, playing his first Test since January's final Ashes clash in Sydney and his first at home since 2004, helped England make light of the absence of injured quicks Matthew Hoggard, Stephen Harmison and Andrew Flintoff after the home side had collapsed to 298-all-out.
"It was the best I've bowled for a while and probably the best-ever in an England shirt," Anderson, 24, said following the stand-out display of his 17-Test career.
Anderson, whose previous Test best of five-for-73 also came at Lord's, during his debut against Zimbabwe in 2003, added Sourav Ganguly Saturday to a list of wickets that already included fellow senior batsmen Rahul Dravid, the India captain, and Tendulkar.
"Ganguly was a key wicket to get him so early a real bonus," Anderson added.
He was well-supported by Ryan Sidebottom, who returned to Test cricket earlier this season after a six-year gap, with the left-arm swing bowler taking four-for-65 while debutant Chris Tremlett could have had more than one wicket.
"All the way through the innings we bowled really well. On another day, Chris and Ryan could have got a 'five-for,'" Anderson said.
"I think both me and Ryan would say we've not really shown what we can do at this level. Ryan's had a great summer and obviously I hope now I can show what I can do," he said.
The Lancashire quick thanked England's bowling coaches for helping him fine tune his action including former South Africa quick Allan Donald, who came on board earlier this season.
"[Donald] is a great man to talk to and learn from," Anderson said.
India, who had resumed on 145-for-four, lost their last six wickets on Saturday for 46 runs in 90 balls.
Wasim Jaffer, who top scored for the tourists with 58, was confident his team could bowl out England cheaply yesterday.
"England are in a good position but the wicket is a doing a bit. In the first innings we got eight wickets for 80 runs so we'll expect something like that," the opener said.
Left-hander Ganguly, who scored a hundred at Lord's in his Test debut 11 years ago, was clean bowled for 34 by a full, swinging delivery.
With his fifth ball, Sidebottom had nightwatchman RP Singh skying to Anderson at mid-off for 17.
Wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni, a ball after hesistantly guiding Anderson just short of the slips, was out for nought when a similar shot carried to Ian Bell at third slip.
Sidebottom did for both Anil Kumble and VVS Laxman, the last recognized batsman.
But it was Anderson, rejuvenated by plenty of county overs, who won the "race" to five wickets when Khan's miscued hook lobbed to first slip Strauss.
Anderson's final figures of five-for-42 in 24.2 overs contained just three boundaries.
It was the third time he'd taken five wickets in a Test innings, but the first since his debut season in 2003.
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