James Anderson has paved the way for England in his Test comeback with four wickets as his side took the reins in the must-win third and final match against India.
The 23-year-old speedster, playing his first Test in over a year, also had a hand in a crucial run-out to strengthen the visitors' chances of squaring the series.
India, in reply to England's total of 400, was bowled out for 279.
However, England then lost Andrew Strauss (four) and Ian Bell (eight) before stumbling to 31-2 at stumps on the third day.
Playing in Mumbai, the tourists have an overall lead of 152 with debutant Owais Shah unbeaten on 15 and Shaun Udal on two.
India proved to be its own worst enemy and was unlucky not to have another breakthrough after Yuvraj Singh dropped nightwatchman Udal at third slip in the last over of the day.
England trails 0-1 in the series after succumbing to a nine-wicket defeat in the second Test at Mohali. The first Test ended in a stale draw at Nagpur.
England's surprise hero on the third day was Anderson, whose victims included well-set India captain Rahul Dravid (52) and free-stroking Dhoni (64). He finished with 4-40 off 19 overs.