India, when bad light forced an early close to the second day of the second Test, were 254 for three - a lead of 56 - after they'd made short work of bowling out their opponents for 198 - England's lowest completed Test innings score this season.
Tendulkar was 57 not out and Sourav Ganguly four not out.
But Monty Panesar kept England in the game by dismissing Dinesh Karthik and India captain Rahul Dravid on his way to two wickets for 50 runs in 18 overs.
And fast bowler Chris Tremlett could count himself unlucky to have just one wicket from 20 overs where he'd conceded just 32 runs.
Openers Dinesh Karthik and Wasim Jaffer, often overshadowed by the middle order, consolidated the advantage India's bowlers had created with a first-wicket stand of 147.
Panesar took a much-needed wicket for England with the very first ball after tea when dangerman Karthik was caught off bat and pad at short leg by Alastair Cook for 77 off a well-flighted delivery from the left-arm spinner. Karthik faced 136 balls, with 11 fours.
Tendulkar made an uncertain start, and on five was hit on the helmet as he tried to sway out of the way of a James Anderson short ball.
But there was another milestone in Tendulkar's career, which saw him play the first of his 139 Tests as a teenager against Pakistan back in 1989, when he joined retired greats Brian Lara and Allan Border as the only men to have scored 11,000 Test runs.
'The Little Master', who only needed 25 at the start of his innings to reach the landmark, got there when, on 23, a cover-drive off Panesar went for four following an Anderson misfield on the boundary.
He then completed a 99-ball fifty with six fours.
But a stand worth 97 when Dravid, beaten in the flight by Panesar, saw an uppish drive well caught at short extra-cover by Ian Bell. 'The Wall' was out for 37 and India were 246 for three.
India's openers both enjoyed lucky breaks.
Tremlett repeatedly beat the bat and when he did induce a false drive from Jaffer, on 32, Bell dropped the tough gully chance.
Panesar almost had a wicket first ball when Karthik, on 44, missed a sweep but the bowler's vehement lbw appeal was turned down by South African umpire Ian Howell.
Jaffer, on 36, also survived a Panesar shout when it looked as if he might be 'hiding' his bat behind his front pad.
Karthik, who made 60 in the second innings at Lord's, completed his latest fifty with a cover-driven four off Panesar with the hundred partnership up in the 32nd over.
It was the first century stand by an Indian opening pair in a Test in England Sunil Gavaskar and Chetan Chauhan put on 213 at The Oval in 1979.
Jaffer then completed his second fifty of the series, before Karthik cover-drove Anderson for two superb fours.
But Tremlett finally broke the stand when Jaffer was caught behind off a steepling delivery for 62.
Zaheer Khan, with a return of four for 59 in 21 overs, his best against England, and leg-spinner Anil Kumble (three for 32 in 12.3) needed fewer than 11 overs between them on Saturday to bowl out England.
It had been a good toss for Dravid to win, seven England wickets falling on the first day in conditions helpful for swing bowling.