The Lancashire bowler came up trumps to take three for 68 off 21 overs, putting his hand up on triumphant day for the tourists after being asked to bowl by India.
Anderson took two key wickets to exemplify all his skills with the old ball whatever the conditions, taking Sachin Tendulkar and Ravi Ashwin after earlier capturing Virat Kohli caught at slip.
Tendulkar hit a vital 76 and Gautam Gambhir, earlier scoring 60, were the standout performers for India but two wickets for Monty Panesar and one for Graeme Swann sealed a fantastic performance.
As expected, England selected Steven Finn in place of Stuart Broad and recalled Ian Bell – after his return to the UK – for Jonny Bairstow.
And with Alastair Cook losing the toss for the third time in succession the hosts started serenely, moving to 47 for no wicket after 10 overs.
But the first wicket fell one ball later when Virender Sehwag was run out by a Samit Patel and Steven Finn combination on the midwicket boundary.
Sehwag, on 23, clipped the ball through the leg side looking for three but Gautam Gambhir was not interested and with his partner stranded halfway down the pitch, Prior whipped off the bails.
Danger man Cheteshwar Pujara was next to go, bowled for 16 by Panesar.
It was imperative for England to get their man early as Pujara had scored 388 runs in four innings before Wednesday with scores of 206 and 135 in the first innings of the previous two matches.
But Panesar fired one through the 24-year-old’s back foot defence to take the wicket to leave India on 88-2 at the end of the morning session
Gambhir was out for 60 with a loose cut shot that flew straight to Jonathan Trott at first slip off Panesar, for his second wicket with India on 117.
Anderson collected his first of three wickets when Swann took a low catch to dismiss Kohli for six in the middle of an excellent start.
The 24-year-old has been in wretched form so far this series with a highest score of just 19 in five innings, after being earmarked by many as the main threat to England.
Swann accounted for Yuvraj Singh again in the series, with the left-hander looking dangerous on 32 sharing a 50 partnership with Tendulkar.
Tendulkar quelled his doubters with his gutsy 50 but was stopped short of his 52nd Test century when he was caught behind off an Anderson away swinger, 23 runs away from a century.
Matt Prior snaffled the ball in the crook of his elbow but England did not mind at all.
The wicket was the eighth time Anderson had dismissed the Little Master in Test cricket to leave India teetering on 230-6.
Anderson then collected his final wicket of the day, bowling Ashwin for 21 through the gate, beating the lower order batsman for pace.
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