England's Stuart Broad took six wickets as and he James Anderson blew India away for 152 on day one of the fourth Investec Test.
After a half-hour rain delay, touring captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni chose to bat first under leaden skies at Emirates Old Trafford and promptly saw his team bag six ducks as they subsided in 46.4 overs.
Remarkably, it could have been even worse after an irresistible burst with the new ball left India eight for four after six overs but Dhoni atoned in small part for his error by making a plucky, counter-attacking 71.
Only Ajinkya Rahane (24) and Ravichandran Ashwin (40) joined him in double figures as Broad's precision, pace and carry, teamed with Anderson's mastery of the swinging ball, won the day.
Broad claimed the last four wickets to finish with six for 25, while Anderson - whose altercation with Ravindra Jadeja and subsequent hearing had dominated the build-up - took three for 46.
India, meanwhile, equalled an unwanted Test record as Murali Vijay, Cheteshwar Pujara, Virat Kohli, Jadeja, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Pankaj Singh all made nought.
India's top-order troubles started when Gautam Gambhir - recalled for his first cap since December 2012 - was squared up by Broad and fed a simple catch to Joe Root at gully.
Broad was terribly unlucky not to account for Pujara four balls later, squeezing one between bat and pad but just clearing middle stump.
Instead, he passed the baton to Anderson, who responded with a double-wicket maiden.
Vijay and Kohli fell victim to the same brilliant two-card trick, a full inswinger to line them up and a perfectly pitched outswinger to follow.
Both obliged with the nick and captain Alastair Cook snaffled two catches at waist height.
In doing so the Anderson-Cook axis reached 24 dismissals, overtaking Sir Ian Botham and Bob Willis as England's most productive outfield combination.
India's meltdown was not yet complete, Pujara's hard hands steering Broad to third slip for a fourth wicket in 13 deliveries.
England appeared on the cusp of a rout.
Dhoni and Rahane ensured that would not be the case, though both were beaten on the outside edge more than once as Anderson and Broad continued their examination.
Dhoni saw Chris Woakes' arrival as a chance to cut loose but saw a thick edge shoot inches over third slip when he flashed hard at the all-rounder's third ball.
That counter-attacking style soon began to lift India out of the depths, though, as he and Rahane put on 54 for the fifth wicket.
The pair almost saw things through to lunch until Rahane let his concentration slip in the penultimate over, caught at slip playing Chris Jordan away from his body.
Jadeja's arrival was greeted with predictable ire by the crowd and hometown boy Anderson needed just three balls after the break to pin his rival lbw with a hooping inswinger.
England's progress was checked with a lively stand between Dhoni and Ashwin that appeared to have been beamed in from a different match.
The pair added 66 in 13.5 overs, sharing eight fours as well as one top-edged six as Ashwin flapped at an Anderson bumper.
Ashwin had contributed a care-free 40 by the time he lobbed Broad to Sam Robson at deep mid-wicket, exposing the real tail.
Broad gladly mopped up the remaining three wickets, Kumar bowled middle stump offering no shot, a panicked Dhoni somehow fetching a catch from outside off to fine leg and Pankaj hopelessly outclassed.