A batting collapse from 134-1 to 192-7 by England in the second session on Friday left India in control of the first Test on day three at Trent Bridge, despite a 10th wicket partnership of 54 between Joe Root and James Anderson.
The hosts trail India's first innings total of 457 by 105 runs and have Stuart Broad and Root's partnership of 78 off 85 balls to thank for avoiding the follow on.
After a wicketless opening period that saw England resume on 43-1, opener Sam Robson was unable to add to his score of 59 as he was trapped lbw in the second over after lunch by Sharma. Gary Ballance fell the same way as Robson for 71.
Ian Bell, who made six fours in his 25, was caught behind by Mahendra Singh Dhoni when he was tempted into playing at a wide delivery.
Moeen Ali took his eye off Mohammed Shami's low bouncer and was caught out by Shikhar Dhawan for 14, before Matt Prior was controversially awarded out, caught behind on 5 off Kumar.
No review controversy
The umpire believed Prior edged the ball, but replays showed it missed his bat and clipped his back leg. Consistent with India's longstanding policy on the issue, reviews were not available to the teams.
"There were a few frustrated players in our dressing room but we've got to get on with it," Root admitted. "Until the ICC make it mandatory for every team to use it, we can't really complain about it."
Kumar struck again in the same over as Prior's dismissal when Ben Stokes edged to Dhoni for a two-ball duck.
And it was Kumar who led the way for India's attack after tea, not only taking the crucial wicket of Broad but following it up by bowling Liam Plunkett for seven.
But Anderson, alongside Root, dug in and prevented India's attack from maintaining its earlier momentum. Root brought up his fifth test 50 with a single at deep backward cover from Kumar and finished the day on 78 unbeaten, while Anderson is 23 not out.
The duo will aim to surpass India's own last-wicket stand of 111 in the first innings, but overcast conditions have meant Kumar and Shami have found more swing in the flat pitch than Anderson and Broad were ever able to.