England suffered an all-too-familiar embarrassment by Indian spin on their way to a hapless 95-run defeat and 5-0 series whitewash at Eden Gardens.
Alastair Cook's tourists appeared to give themselves an obvious chance of breaking their one-day international duck at the last attempt on this nightmare tour when they coasted to 129 for none in little more than 20 overs of their reply to 271 for eight.
But their habitual stumbling block Mahendra Singh Dhoni (75no) had already rescued a viable total from an unpromising position, and then Ravindra Jadeja (four for 33) and friends conspired to undermine England's batting once young fast bowler Varun Aaron had ended a highly promising stand between Craig Kieswetter and Cook.
Five wickets fell for 12 runs in 35 balls - and soon afterwards all 10 for 47 - as India's slow bowlers found telling turn which had been conspicuously beyond Graeme Swann and Samit Patel (three for 57).
Cook (60) and Kieswetter (63) crashed 17 fours - and a six for the latter - as they tucked into India's seamers, and then consolidated initially with the pace off in near run-a-ball half-centuries.
But Aaron bowled Cook off his pad with a quick delivery which kept low, and then came the capitulation to spin.
Kieswetter pushed forward defensively but did not use his bat against Jadeja; Ian Bell, playing for the first time in the series because of the thumb Kevin Pietersen broke in Sunday's Mumbai defeat, nicked behind a doosra from R Ashwin (three for 28); and Jonathan Trott edged the slow left-armer to slip.
The terminal damage continued when Jonny Bairstow tried to hit against Jadeja's spin and was caught at point, and there was simply no way back for England as their collapse duly careered further out of control.
It became a matter of if, not when, England would surrender - and when the end came with 13 overs unused, it was to the delight of a crowd which filled barely a third of this famous venue but nonetheless made plenty of partisan noise.
India's innings had been a stop-start affair - featuring an opening stand of 80, three wickets for no runs in the next 10 balls and then Dhoni's apparently inevitable virtuoso display.
The man who has stood without fail between England and even a modicum of success on this tour kept India competitive with only three fours but also four sixes from 69 balls, and much industrious scurrying as well.
He dispatched two towering sixes in one Swann over, and blitzed two more among 39 runs off the 49th and 50th as he cranked up a late charge.
England had bowled acceptably but not penetratively with the new ball, after Cook had again won the toss, and India's opening pair Ajinkya Rahane and Gautam Gambhir appeared untroubled and unhurried as they progressed smoothly through the first 17 overs.
A quick outfield gave the batsmen impetus. But when Tim Bresnan and Steven Finn returned out of necessity in the bowling powerplay, they briefly transformed events.
Gambhir aimed to cut Finn and got an inside edge on to his stumps as a ball slanted naturally across him seamed marginally in off the angle.
It was lateral movement too which then saw off the dangerous Virat Kohli for a fifth-ball duck in the same over.
Kohli had wafted and missed at a slightly wider delivery, then chose to leave alone one that snaked back into him and knocked back an unguarded off stump.
Bresnan was not to be outdone and ousted Rahane in the next over, via an edge trying to drive a full ball outside off-stump and a memorable, diving catch by Kieswetter - who has veered to extremes with his wicketkeeping on this tour.
India had therefore made 10 for three in the powerplay, and it ought to have got even better for England had Swann not spilled a routine catch at second slip off Finn to reprieve Suresh Raina on one.
The left-hander stayed long enough to share useful stands with Manoj Tiwary - who edged Stuart Meaker behind, pushing forward - and then Dhoni before being run out by Ravi Bopara.
An excellent pick-up and throw from midwicket did the trick, Raina's bat over the crease but in the air as he dived in for a single.
Dhoni, who has made 340 runs in six innings dating back to The Oval on September 9 since England last managed to dismiss him, got under way with an aerial chip for four off Meaker which traced a thin line between midwicket and mid-on.
But he assessed requirements expertly and - even as wickets fell at the other end - provided his own spinners with more than enough runs.