India, having seen batting stars Rahul Dravid and Sachin Tendulkar depart cheaply to James Anderson, were 145 for four at stumps on the second day having bowled out England for 298 after the hosts resumed on 268 for four.
Diving wicket-keeper Matt Prior compounded England's plight by dropping opener Wasim Jaffer on nought off left-arm quick Ryan Sidebottom.
It proved an expensive miss with Jaffer going to make 58 before he was caught and bowled by Chris Tremlett, shortly before the close, to give the debutant fast bowler his first Test wicket.
Former captain Sourav Ganguly was also reprieved on his way to 25 not out when, on 11, a flashing square cut brushed the fingertips of Ian Bell in the gully off Tremlett.
Ganguly was still there at the close with nightwatchman RP Singh on five not out.
Anderson took an impressive two wickets for 26 runs in 15 overs.
Sreesanth, playing his first Test in England and only ninth in all, said he'd followed the opening day example set by medium-pacer Ganguly.
"I was standing at fine leg and saw Ganguly bowling and it really inspired me because he was just hitting the right areas and making the ball move," the 24-year-old explained.
"He got (Alastair) Cook out, the first wicket, and he showed us the way," added Sreesanth, who took three for four in 14 balls to finish with three for 67 in 22 overs.
Anderson, whose 17-Test career has been a stop-start affair since he made his debut in 2003, said: "I see this as a chance to show what I can do. It's a pretty strong attack and whether I can cement a place in that, we'll see."
The 24-year-old who didn't hit it off with ex-England bowling coach Troy Cooley, said new bowling guru and former South Africa quick Allan Donald had improved his form.
"He's got a very different approach has AD. He talks more about match situations and that's helped me quite a lot."
Jaffer and Tendulkar, whose 37 was his best Test score at Lord's, put on 79 for the third wicket.
During his innings Tendulkar moved past former Australia captain Stephen Waugh's mark of 10,927 runs and into third place in the list of Test cricket's leading all-time run scorers.
Earlier, England only managed to bat for 10.5 overs and lost their last six wickets for 26 runs.
India then saw Dinesh Karthik and Dravid both fall for single figures.
Tendulkar moved past Waugh when he clipped Tremlett off his legs in his 221st Test innings compared to the Australia great's 260.
Anderson, whipped through square leg by Tendulkar, had his revenge when the batsman was lbw playing outside the line.
Jaffer, who'd completed a 100-ball fifty with eight fours, became a becalmed figure with his final eight runs taking 56 balls.
Ganguly, who 11 years ago made a hundred at Lord's on his Test debut, was lucky on two when an edged drive off left-arm spinner Monty Panesar flew past the outstretched hand of Paul Collingwood at slip.
England, after a first session wash-out, saw nightwatchman Sidebottom bowled by left-armer Singh with the second delivery with the new ball.
Then Kevin Pietersen, on 37, edged left-arm quick Zaheer Khan and wicket-keeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni claimed a low catch.
Pietersen, already walking back towards the pavilion when Australian umpire Simon Taufel raised the finger, stopped when beckoned to stay by his team-mates after replays suggested the ball had bounced just in front of Dhoni.
The umpires, who can change their mind while a batsman is on the field, referred the decision to third umpire Ian Gould who gave Pietersen not out.
However, Pietersen, still on 37, was out having faced just two more balls when he egded Khan to give Dhoni a simple catch.
"The reaction was very simple. He (Khan) got him once so we were very sure he was going to get him twice," said Sreesanth, who followed up Pietersen's dismissal by having Prior, Tremlett and Panesar all plumb lbw for one run between them.
England 1st Innings (overnight: 268-4)
Fall of wickets: 1-76 (Cook), 2-218 (Strauss), 3-252 (Vaughan), 4-255 (Collingwood), 5-272 (Sidebottom), 6-286 (Pietersen), 7-287 (Prior), 8-287 (Tremlett), 9-297 (Panesar), 10-298 (Bell)
India 1st Innings
Fall of wickets: 1-18 (Karthik), 2-27 (Dravid), 3-106 (Tendulkar), 4-134 (Jaffer)
To bat: VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, A Kumble, Z Khan, S Sreesanth
Umpires: Steve Bucknor (WIS), Simon Taufel (AUS)
TV Umpire: Ian Gould (ENG)
Match referee: Ranjan Madugalle (SRI)