India removed Alastair Cook and Jonathan Trott cheaply as England reached lunch on 69 for two on the first day of the second test at Trent Bridge on Friday.
Captain Andrew Strauss was 29 not out and Kevin Pietersen unbeaten on 26 after runs were difficult to find in cloudy conditions which often produced prodigious swing.
Cook was lbw to Ishant Sharma for two, though television replays suggested the ball may have gone over the stumps, while Trott was caught for four at second slip in Shanthakumaran Sreesanth's first over.
England, who lead the four-match encounter 1-0 after winning the first test at Lord's, are seeking a sixth straight series victory.
Strauss, on two, survived an appeal for lbw by Praveen Kumar when replays showed the ball may have pitched just outside leg stump.
Pietersen injected some urgency, getting off the mark with a quick single off his first ball and later pulling Sreesanth through mid-wicket from two consecutive deliveries.
When he was on 17, Pietersen was fortunate as he played across a straight ball from Kumar. He was hit on the pads and received the benefit of the doubt from South African umpire Marais Erasmus.India v England
At the end of the over an angry Kumar remonstrated with Erasmus and had to be dragged away by team mate Harbhajan Singh.
Kumar could receive a caution from the match referee for his conduct.