Top-order duo Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara produced a second-wicket stand of 107 to stall England on day two of the fourth Test. India reached stumps at the Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai trailing by 254 on 146-1 after Jos Buttler hit 76 to help the tourists post an impressive first-innings total of 400.
Resuming on 288-5 after a fine debut century from Durham opener Keaton Jennings on Thursday (8 December), England added nine more runs before Ben Stokes fell for 31 after a review proved he had edged a Ravichandran Ashwin delivery through to captain Virat Kohli stationed at slip. Buttler survived India's last appeal after being hit on the pads by Ravindra Jadeja and the left-armer bounced back from that disappointment by coaxing an edge out of Chris Woakes that carried behind to wicket-keeper Parthiv Patel.
Adil Rashid added four before mistakenly opting to leave a ball from Jadeja that hit his off-stump. Having reduced their opponents to 334-8, India let a difficult chance slip through their fingers when Kohli failed to hold on to a tough catch that would have sent Jake Ball packing for a duck.
Buttler, recalled prior to the eight-wicket third Test defeat in Mohali as a replacement for the struggling Ben Duckett, nicked a single off Jayant Yadav to bring up his first Test half-century since May 2015. The vital ninth-wicket partnership reached 50 off 69 deliveries to leave England at lunch on 385-8 and with real hope of getting to that magical 400 mark.
Preferred to Liam Dawson and Steven Finn with Nottinghamshire teammate Stuart Broad still not fully recovered from a foot tendon injury, Ball impressed with the bat before seeing his rhythm disrupted by a painful shoulder problem. After a stoppage in play, he became Ashwin's sixth and final victim of the innings with an edge to Patel. Buttler struck another big six and steered England to 400 before a fine knock was ended on 76 when he attempted another huge shot and was promptly cleaned up by Jadeja.
Stoic in reply, India lost their only wicket when Moeen Ali bowled KL Rahul through the gate after tempting him into a foolish drive. Vijay and Pujara successfully guided them through to tea at 62-1 before bringing up their 50 partnership in 98 balls. As England's seamers toiled badly to no avail, the duo scored 70 and 47 respectively, leaving the match finely poised.