Roy Hodgson's side started brightly, but found themselves behind after eight minutes when Enner Valencia rose to meet Walter Ayovi's cross and head it beyond Ben Foster.
Defensively frailties had England looking vulnerable at the back as Foster was called into action on numerous occasions, before some probing in front of goal led to a 28th-minute leveller from Wayne Rooney.
The lively Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain surged into the area and teed a cross up towards the back post where Rickie Lambert was arriving. His presence caused a scramble inside the box, clipping the post with a back-heel before Rooney pounced on the loose ball from close range.
England then took the lead just after the break after an excellent run from Ross Barkley teed up Lambert inside the area and Liverpool's newest recruit fired into the bottom corner with the outside of his right boot.
However, Michael Arroyo stepped off the bench to make it 2-2 as he was allowed to get his shot away from the edge of the area and fire beyond Foster with a stunning strike into the top corner.
Second-half substitute Raheem Sterling was dismissed alongside Antonio Valencia following an altercation between the pair after a lunging challenge from the Liverpool winger as the two sides battled out a draw.
Despite humidity levels nearing 70 per cent, England played a high tempo in the first few minutes.
But all the early promise drained away when Ecuador took the lead as Milner dallied on the ball near his own corner flag and hooked a weak ball clear when he could have put the ball into the stands.
Oxlade-Chamberlain was unable to control it and Walter Ayovi clipped a ball into the centre of the box where Valencia got in between Smalling and Shaw to power home a bullet header.
Foster then almost gifted Ecuador a second. The goalkeeper, making his first England start in four years, wandered out of his box and had to backpedal quickly to save from Carlos Gruezo.
England had to resort to long-range shots and Lampard hit the best one, a swirling, dipping effort which Banguera tipped over acrobatically.
England were thrown a lifeline on the half-hour thanks to a clanger from Banguera.
The Ecuador goalkeeper missed Oxlade-Chamberlain's cross and when Lambert's backheeled shot cannoned back towards him off a post, he could only divert the ball to the feet of Rooney who tapped in from close range before upper-cutting the air in glee.
Foster did little to calm Hodgson's nerves when he raced off his line to confront Valencia, who prodded wide when he should have scored.
It was all smiles for the England coach after the break as Lambert found the net, although a lot of the credit goal should go to Barkley. The Everton midfielder nutmegged Jorge Guagua and drifted past Frickson Erazo before finding the unmarked Lambert, who drilled a low shot under Banguera.
England suffered an injury scare as Oxlade-Chamberlain needed a minute's treatment before getting to his feet and Hodgson was taking no chances, bringing the winger off for debutant Jon Flanagan.
Enner Valencia picked up a loose ball in the box and drilled a low shot which came back off the woodwork. Luckily for England, Jones was there to clear.
But no amount of luck could have stopped Arroyo's equaliser as the Ecuador substitute blasted a 20-yard strike past Foster.
Hodgson brought Sterling and John Stones for Rooney and Shaw but Sterling had only been on for a few minutes when he took Antonio Valencia out with a rash challenge.
The Manchester United midfielder responded by grabbing Sterling by the neck and Wilshere then piled in, pushing Valencia away.
Referee Jair Marrufo sent Sterling and the United winger off before Wilshere hobbled off late on.