Cheteshwar Pujara posted his second century of the series to steady the ship for India and keep England at bay on the first day of the second Test at the Wankhede stadium in Mumbai.
England looked on top for most of the day's proceedings, with the hosts struggling at 166/6, soon after tea. However, an unbeaten seventh wicket partnership of 97 between Pujara (114 not out) and Ravichandran Ashwin (60 not out) means India, who closed the day on 266/6, hold the edge on a track that looks increasingly difficult for batting heading into the second day.
Monty Panesar, back in the squad after missing the first Test, has been the standout performer for the visitors. The 30 year old took four key wickets, with Virender Sehwag (30), Sachin Tendulkar (8), Virat Kohli (19) and MS Dhoni (29) all falling before his left-arm orthodox spin.
However, the day belonged to Pujara, who came up with yet another masterclass to follow up his double century in the first Test. The 24 year old walked out to the middle as early as the first over, after James Anderson packed off opener Gautam Gambhir (4) and batted through the day, anchoring the innings for India.
Meanwhile, all-rounder Ashwin, who hit a century the last time he batted on the Wankhede pitch (against West Indies in 2011), brought up a cracking fifty in quick time in the last session, to offer support to Pujara and add some crucial lower-order runs to the Indian total.
England made two changes to the team that lost the first Test by nine wickets, with Jonny Bairstow coming in for Ian Bell, who returned home for his child's birth, while Tim Bresnan made way for Panesar. On the other hand, India - who won the toss - deemed the pitch as ideal for spin and included a third spinner in Harbhajan Singh, at the expense of pacer Umesh Yadav.
Day 3 Summary
- India (1st innings) 266/6 (Pujara 114 not out, Ashwin 60 not out; Panesar 4/91)