Even a gem of an innings from Moeen Ali could salvage a total of only 206 all out for England in the fourth Royal London Series match against India at Edgbaston.
The hosts, who need to win here and at Headingley on Friday to avoid a fifth defeat in their last six one-day international series, lurched to 23 for three after being put in on a glorious morning.
They stumbled again to 114 for five in the 33rd over. But Birmingham-born Moeen (67), in his first ODI of the summer, responded with England's only half-century of the series to date.
The left-hander did not hang about either, coming in at number seven and needing only 37 balls to pass 50 with three sixes and three fours.
Unfortunately for England, Moeen played at a level above all his team-mates - and they were highly vulnerable, despite his best efforts, to going 3-0 down here and losing captain Alastair Cook's fifth successive ODI series.
Cook's was the second of three wickets to fall for eight runs, as Bhuvneshwar Kumar put England on the back foot with a skilful new-ball spell of 8-3-14-2.
The captain played out two initial maidens from Kumar - there would be four in the 10-over powerplay - before seeing the same bowler strike immediately with his first delivery to Alex Hales.
Cook's opening partner thrives on width but got none from Kumar, who tucked him up with a tight line and hint of inswing and got through Hales' second inclination to defend and knocked back off-stump.
Four balls later, Cook sliced an attempted cut straight to gully - and then, in the absence of the injured Ian Bell, replacement number three Gary Ballance aimed to on-drive first-change Mohammed Shami (three for 28) only to prop a simple catch to cover off a leading edge.
Joe Root and Eoin Morgan limited damage against the swinging ball in a much-needed and hard-working stand of 80, but both then went to spin in the space of four overs.
Morgan deflected Ravindra Jadeja straight to leg-slip; then Root reverse-swept Suresh Raina's off-spin to the man waiting at short third-man.
Moeen and Jos Buttler could not therefore attack the batting powerplay as England would have wished, but still bagged a handy 41 for one.
That included two Moeen sixes, pulled over midwicket and driven over long on, in successive Ravi Ashwin overs.
Buttler did not try to match him, but the hope he might cash in on his early caution was not realised because he fell lbw on the back foot to Shami - a delivery which simulation suggested would have cleared the stumps.
That, and Moeen's eventual departure - bowled trying to make room to hit Ashwin - meant England's tail were left trying to bat the overs and only eke out rather than smash runs.
The upshot, even more so than at Trent Bridge on Saturday, was that the hosts did not appear to have set a competitive target.