It was India's seventh Test defeat in 23 games, as compared to nine wins, against all comers at this venue, and their third in 7 games against England and second on the trot.
The hosts had previously suffered reverses against their English rivals in 1980 and 2006 - the last time the two met at this ground. Overall, it was India's 39th defeat, and twelfth at home, in 105 Tests.
Graeme Swann got the initial wicket in his first over itself, after an expensive opening over by Panesar, by dismissing overnight not out batsman Harbhajan Singh.
Singh, who struck a lofted four off Panesar, checked his cut shot to a ball that turned and bounced from the off spinner and offered a tame catch to slip fielder Jonathan Trott to depart for 6 after facing 5 balls.
Panesar, who was hit for two fours in his first over, got rid off no. 10 batsman Zaheer Khan (1) when his sweep shot ballooned up off the top edge for wicket keeper Matt Prior to run a few yards and take it near the square leg position and India had slumped to 131 for 9 in the fifth over of the morning.
Gambhir, with only last man Pragyan Ojha for company, farmed the strike to help the team add 11 more runs before he was last out, leg before to Swann while defending as he was rapped on the back pad.
Replays suggested the left handed opener got an inside edge on to the pad, and Gambhir was understandably not happy with umpire Tony Hill's decision.
Gambhir, who missed becoming only the fourth Indian opener to carry his bat through after Sunil Gavaskar (1983), Virender Sehwag (2008) and Rahul Dravid (2011), showed the only sign of defiance from the home team in the second innings while his other teammates flopped.
The Delhi left hander, not out on 53 last evening, batted for over three hours, and struck six fours in 142 balls before becoming Swann's fourth victim of the innings.
Panesar, who ended the innings with brilliant figures of 6 for 81, thus equaled the late Hedley Verity's record