Alastair Cook's position as England captain has been thrust further under the spotlight after Ishant Sharma's best-career figures of 7-74 inspired India to a fifth day win at Lord's to take a 1-0 lead in the five-Test series.
Without a win in their last 10 Tests, Cook's role is under further pressure as England collapsed to 223 all-out, suffering a defeat by 95 runs, as their middle-order was hopelessly exposed by short Indian bowling.
Moeen Ali, Matt Prior, Ben Stokes and Joe Root were all bounced out by Sharma, whose India team claimed just their sixth test win on England shores and broke a 14-match winless run away from home to accentuate the toils of Cook and new coach Peter Moores.
While the role of Cook as England skipper will be further questioned, having been retained following the 5-0 Ashes whitewash by Australia for the series loss to Sri Lanka at the start of the summer, his place in the team is also uncertain after a run of 26 months without a Test century.
Scores of 10 and 22 in the second Test at Lord's, where they have lost to India for just the second time in their history, means Cook has scored just 129 in his last nine innings and the England and Wales Cricket Board wil be urged to take decisive action.
Still requiring another 214 for victory, England began in solid fashion, putting on 35 runs in the first hour but without even a vague threat at the wickets of not out pair Root and Ali.
But on the cusp of lunch, a lack of concentration gave the Indians the crucial breakthrough as Ali (39) fended Sharma off straight to short leg in the final ball of the morning session.
And it would prove to be the catalyst for a desperate England collapse as Sharma persisted with short deliveries which exposed the hosts' weak technique.
Prior made just 12 before pulling wildly to Murali Vijay, Stokes (0) swung waywardly to midwicket before Root (66) top edged as England lost three wickets for three runs in 17 balls as Sharma ripped through.
The India seamer picked up his seventh as Broad (8) feathered the ball down the leg side and England's agony was ended when James Anderson (2) was run out in calamitous circumstances.
The series resumes at the Ageas Bowl in the third test starting on Sunday but whether Cook will stay as captain remains to be seen.