Pix: India fail to drive home advantage after early wickets
England shook off a rusty start to their innings, thanks to Kevin Pietersen (73) and Jonathan Trott (44) who helped them recover on Day 1 of the fourth Test in Nagpur on Thursday.
At stumps, England were 199 for 5 (97 overs), with debutant Joe Root (31) and wicketkeeper-batsman Matt Prior (34) at the crease.
Earlier, Alastair Cook won the toss and decided to bat on a dry pitch that is bound to give assistance to spinners as the days progress.
Image: India captain MS Dhoni and England captain Alastair Cook greet each other during the toss, before the start of the 4th Test, on Day 1 at VCA ground in Nagpur on Thursday
England off to sedate start
The English openers were watchful to begin with. Cook played out a maiden in the first over and Compton was also tentative in his approach. He looked to use his feet against left-arm spinner Pragyan Ojha, but his stay at the crease was cut short soon.In the next over, Ishant Sharma induced a slight nick off a short of length delivery, and Compton fished outside his off-stump for Dhoni to latch on to a simple catch.
Image: Ishant Sharma celebrates with teammates after dismissing Nick Compton
Ishant double puts England on back foot
Ishant struck a double blow to England when he had Cook (1) leg before in the 11th over of the innings. England's captain looked edgy and was unable to wield his bat freely.
To top it, the umpiring wasn't impressive and that was proved by umpire Kumar Dharmasena.
The ball seemed to have stayed low as Cook tried to defend an outgoing delivery, which clearly struck him outside the off-stump, but was given out LBW.
With this strike, England were left gasping at 16-2.
Image: Alastair Cook walks back after being wrongly dismissed by Ishant Sharma
Pietersen-Trott stage fightback
In came Kevin Pietersen and joined Jonathan Trott in scripting England's recovery.
Coming together in the first hour of play, the third-wicket pair saw England to lunch without being separated -- 61 runs in 33 overs, losing two wickets.
They continued in the same vein post the interval, putting on a partnership worth 86 runs in 39.1 overs to wrest back the initiative from India.
Pietersen and Trott easily negotiated the four-pronged spin attack of Ojha, R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Piyush Chawla quite comfortably though the latter looked in two minds whenever Sharma dug the ball in short.
Image: Kevin Pietersen and Jonathan Trott look on as MS Dhoni sets the field
KP fires another half-century; Jadeja scalps 1st Test wicket
Ashwin was far from impressive and Jadeja also didn't bowl with much sting in his first spell.
England continued to fight and their dogged determination saw them cross the 100-run mark in the 49th over. In the process Kevin Pietersen completed his 50, off 108 balls, with a four off Ashwin.Jadeja then came in to bowl a fresh spell and struck soon after. Trott became his first Test victim. The batsman offered no stroke and Jadeja foxed him with the arm delivery that came in sharply and crashed into the off-stump.
Image: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates with teammates after claiming the wicket of Jonathan Trott on Thursday
KP makes India pay after being dropped
Pietersen, on 61 in a total of 112 for 3, could have been caught off a firm flick at short mid-wicket by Cheteshwar Pujara, but the ball fell just short of the fielder.
Chawla, who bowled five overs in his first spell, replaced Sharma and struck almost immediately, when Bell, who had scored just one off 28 balls, played a loose drive to a well-tossed up delivery straight to Virat Kohli at extra cover.
While other batsmen struggled, Pietersen continued to take on the Indians without much fuss on a track that had uneven bounce. And helping his cause was Dhoni's poor field placements.
Image: Kevin Pietersen in action
Root starts positively; KP is Jadeja's second victim
England debutant Joe Root replaced Bell at the crease. He started off confidently, hitting a three and then a boundary off Ojha to get to 10 off 11 balls by the tea break.
Pietersen was unconquered on 68 after a stay of 193 minutes, during which he hit nine fours and saw England get to 133 for four at the break.
After tea, Pietersen welcomed Jadeja with a boundary off the very first ball of the session. But the left-armer got his revenge soon after as the batsman played towards mid-wicket and Pragyan Ojha took a low catch, diving forward.
Image: Ravindra Jadeja celebrates after dismissing Pietersen
Root-Trott add 60 runs to take England to 199 at close
At this point, with the score 139 for 5, India had England in a spot. However, the hosts failed to capitalise on the advantage.
Root and Matt Prior frustrated the Indian bowlers, playing with patience. They batted for nearly 30 overs to add 60 runs for the unbroken sixth-wicket stand. The unfinished partnership lasted five minutes under two hours.
Despite losing the important wicket of Pietersen, the third session belonged to England.
The Indians will rue that they couldn't make full use of the dry and cracked pitch.
Image: Matt Prior in action