Gary Ballance helped England to 219/6 with a carefully compiled 110 after Bhuvneshwar Kumar had left them reeling on 70/3.
The lone spinner in Ravindra Jadeja claimed Joe Root in the later part of the post-Lunch session. While the England top-order crumbled, Ballance dropped anchor after a shaky start and fought to keep the team in fray. The left-hand batsman formed an alliance with Moeen Ali for 98 runs en route his timely century.
Earlier, after ending India’s last wicket stand on the tenth ball of the morning, Alastair Cook and Sam Robson took guard in England’s first essay. In a long and impactful spell, Bhuvneshwar claimed both the openers to finish with figures of 2/17 in the morning session. India’s new ball bowlers used the seaming conditions well to keep the flow of runs in check and the batsmen on their toes in the first session.
Shami could have been the first of the two bowlers to pick up a wicket, but Ajinkya Rahane dropped a sitter at first slip to give Robson a reprieve. In the following over, Bhuvneshwar gave the visitors their first breakthrough. Bowling a probing line, the pacer had the England captain nick the ball to the wicketkeeper. Three overs later, he induced an edge off Robson and ensured that the opener didn’t capitalise on the life he had been given earlier.
Bhuvneshwar was well complemented by Shami and Ishant Sharma as they bowled a disciplined line to restrict the England batsmen from scoring. Ballance and Bell trudged along to take the hosts to 51/2 at Lunch.
Post Lunch, MS Dhoni persisted with Ishant and Bhuvneshwar. The pair strove to continue where they had left in the previous session and India was rewarded for their perseverance with the wicket of Ian Bell. The middle-order batsman gloved a Bhuvneshwar delivery that came in to third slip for 16. With three key wickets, the pacer had kept India in control of the proceedings. At 70/3, the hosts needed a sizeable partnership and keep wickets in hand.
With the team in a precarious position, England’s highest run-getter in the first Test, Joe Root once again made his way to the middle under trying circumstances. The middle-order batsman joined Ballance in an effort to keep the Indian bowlers at bay. Half-way through the session, the India captain replaced Bhuvneshwar with Stuart Binny. The medium-pacer would have had the wicket of Ballance, had MS Dhoni taken the edge that carried.
The No.3 batsman continued to prod on and had stitched a 43-run partnership with Root until Jadeja struck. The spinner claimed Root leg-before to end the blossoming partnership. Ali, who then came out to the middle swept Jadeja over mid-on to open his account.
Meanwhile, Ballance who was anchoring the innings, reached his fifty at the stroke of tea with a single to Murali Vijay. At the end of the session England were 125/4 with Ballance and Moeen Ali in the middle.
Resisting the Indian attack, the Ballance-Ali partnership grew into the highest of the England innings thus far. The batsmen defended and worked at keeping the wickets intact, while India struggled to create a breakthrough.
Ballance who was inching towards his ton entered the 90s with two successive drives to the fence off Stuart Binny. The left-handed bat brought up his century with a boundary through mid-wicket.
While India looked for a breakthrough and awaited the new ball, Murali Vijay got Ali trapped leg-before for 32. He was replaced by night-watchman Liam Plunkett.
India then took the second new ball and right away reaped benefits as Bhuvneshwar Kumar got Ballance caught behind for 110. Prior and Plunkett then saw the hosts through the remaining overs.
Earlier in the day, Shami and Ishant resumed the Indian innings on 290/9 and five runs later, the former edged Ben Stokes to slips ending the visitors’ first innings.
Day 1: Ind 1st inn 290/9 in 90 overs (A Rahane 103, B Kumar 36, J Anderson 4/55, S Broad 2/79)
Day 2: Ind 1st inn 295 all out in 91.4 overs (M Shami 19, B Stokes 2/40); Eng 1st inn 219 in 86 overs (G Balance 110, B Kumar 4/46)