Great Britain must win both of Sunday's Davis Cup singles matches against Serbia & Montenegro after losing the doubles 3-6 6-3 3-6 4-6 on Saturday.
GB 1-2 SERBIA & MONTENEGRO
Live coverage on Sunday on BBC2, Ceefax and this website
The return of Andy Murray to partner Greg Rusedski was not enough to stop Nenad Zimonjic and Ilia Bozoljac.
Murray, who missed Friday's singles with a bacterial infection, looked out of sorts and increasingly frustrated.
He swore at umpire Adel Aref over a disputed call, and Great Britain will be fined because of his outburst.
"We got an absolutely shocking call in the first game of the fourth set, and I told the umpire how bad he was," Murray admitted afterwards.
Things began badly for Murray when he dropped his first service game as he and Rusedski made little impact as a partnership in the opening set.
But they improved in the second, and after six break points on Zimonjic's serve made the breakthrough to take a 4-2 lead, going on to win it 6-3.
But it was the third set that was to change the face of the match as Rusedski, who had looked in control of his service game throughout, showed signs of fatigue and two double faults contributed to Serbia edging into a 4-2 lead.
This provided Zimonjic and Bozoljac with a spring in their step and, having secured the third set 6-3, they took their new-found confidence into the fourth.
Britain's hopes of clawing their way back were dashed when Rusedski lost his serve again, and despite breaking back to level at 2-2, it was Murray's serve which was next to be broken, and therefore putting Serbia and Montenegro in the driving seat.
Zimonjic, who had struggled with his service games, was to have no such trouble to close out the match - serving an ace to ensure Serbia of a 2-1 advantage heading into Sunday's reverse singles.
"We took a risk here today, I think it was the right call but it just didn't work out for us," admitted Rusedski.
"We just didn't click when we needed to at the right times today and just a point here or there counts in doubles.
"Andy and I have only played two matches together to date and I think we need to get a little bit more experience together when it comes to playing Davis Cup."