India's first Eden Gardens defeat since the last millennium was a second in successive Tests at the hands of resurgent England, and means the hosts can no longer win the four-match series.
Only victory in the final Test, in fact, will rescue a draw and some pride - and India's selectors wasted no time in addressing the issue, by dropping lynchpin fast bowler Zaheer Khan and batting all-rounder Yuvraj Singh less than four hours after the end of the third Test. "The selectors are here to decide," said the wicketkeeper-batsman.
Harbhajan Singh is another fall guy - although he did not play in Kolkata - and the three big names will be replaced in Nagpur by pace bowler Parvinder Awana, all-rounder Ravindra Jadeja and leg-spinner Piyush Chawla.
It was no surprise, after England had chased just 40 runs in the second innings to prevail by seven wickets and take an unassailable 2-1 lead, to hear Dhoni called to account by an agitated home press contingent.
While England can quietly add a successful 'reintegration' process in their ranks to their list of positive developments under Alastair Cook, the Times of India front page on Sunday morning proclaimed the "disintegration" of Dhoni's team.
A new captain and six changes were the suggested TOI remedy, in a radical line-up especially notable for the absence of Dhoni himself and veteran master batsman Sachin Tendulkar.
The India selectors unsurprisingly stopped short of that. Dhoni earlier made it clear he was happy to defer to the wisdom of the Board of Control for Cricket, but that he relishes the opportunity to try to put his team back on track.
He added: "It's always fine to lead a side when they're doing really well, and everyone's performing. But that's not the time when you need a leader. Leading a side is all about (doing it) when the team is not doing well, trying to gel them together, back the youngsters and the senior guys.
"The easiest thing for me to do right now is to give up the captaincy and be part of the side, because that's just running away from the responsibility. I have to get the team together, and be prepared for the next Test match."