England lost two big wickets to Pragyan Ojha just before tea to dampen their optimism on day two of the second Test at the Wankhede Stadium.
After Monty Panesar completed his five-wicket haul, and England finally shifted Cheteshwar Pujara (135) - thanks to Graeme Swann - openers Alastair Cook and Nick Compton shared an encouraging stand of 66 in reply to 327 all out.
England's hopes of battling back here after their nine-wicket defeat in the first Test of four were rising, until Ojha saw off Compton and Jonathan Trott in successive overs to leave the tourists 77 for two.
Cook was less crease-bound than in his heroic but vain 176 in Ahmedabad - and after he had twice hit Ojha over the top, once for six over long-on, Compton too was emboldened to use his feet to good effect against India's three-strong specialist spin attack.
It was only when slow left-armer Ojha returned for his second spell that Compton was undone, caught at slip off a full ball which turned enough to take the edge of his forward-defence.
Then Trott went fatally back, as he has tended to on this tour, and was stone-dead lbw for his second duck in three Test innings in India.
Panesar and Swann had combined well in the morning to take India's last four wickets for 61 runs. By the time Swann had Pujara stumped half an hour before lunch, he had batted for almost 18 hours without being dismissed in the series since first taking guard at the Sardar Patel Stadium last week.
The number three underpinned India's total, one which appeared highly unlikely when the hosts stumbled to 119 for five on Friday.
Pujara's seventh-wicket stand of 111 with Ravichandran Ashwin (68) was a source of particular frustration for England.
Ashwin had hardly batted like a number eight since his arrival at the crease on Friday evening.