England made full use of the conditions, as they saw off the second session without losing a wicket. Dom Sibley scored his fourth Test fifty, with Joe Root also making a solid start on Day 1.
India would be disappointed with how things went after Lunch. None of their spinners, apart from Ravichandran Ashwin, looked threatening. And with Ishant Sharma bowling short spells, there seems to be too much responsibility on Jasprit Bumrah.
Brief scores: England 140/2 (Dominic Sibley 53*, Joe Root 45*) against India (Jasprit Bumrah 1/30, Ravichandran Ashwin 1/52) after 57 overs
After losing two wickets in quick succession just before Lunch, England made a measured start in the second session. Just 14 runs came in the first 10 overs, as a combination of disciplined bowling and tight fielding kept the visitors at bay.
Ishant Sharma was particularly impressive, as he got the ball to reverse. The lanky pacer attacked the stumps and troubled Joe Root on a couple of occasions. He got one to jag back before hitting the pads, but the ball was going over the stumps, as India decided against a review. Ishant then got Joe Root to edge one, but the ball fell short of Rohit Sharma at first slip.
Three consecutive maidens built up the pressure, but a change in bowling gave England a reprieve. Joe Root and Dom Sibley were more comfortable against Shahbaz Nadeem and Washington Sundar as they picked up the scoring rate. 100 came up for England in the 44th over, as the spin duo gave away 35 runs in a 10-over spell.
Root and Sibley played with contrasting styles, but both found ways to impress at the crease. The England skipper relied on his tried and tested sweep, both reverse and the conventional one, to score runs behind the wicket.
Dom Sibley reaches his fourth half-century
Dominic Sibley, however, was content with holding one end up early on. He started cautiously but gained confidence after the initial period of play. The runs began flowing as soon as Sibley resorted to using his feet, with the opener targeting the leg side. He soon reached his 50 and will look to get a big score after putting in all the hard work.
Virat Kohli brought back Ashwin and Bumrah as he searched for a breakthrough. But England ended the session just like they started, seeing off the threat as they went into Tea without losing a wicket.
England would be happier of the two sides going into Tea. Joe Root looks solid, and Dom Sibley’s resilience is positive as well. As India’s bowlers tire out, expect the English batsmen to pick up the scoring rate in the final session.
India would try to regroup during the break, as they figure out how to break the defiant stand. With the partnership getting close to crossing 100, it is essential that the hosts pick up a wicket or two to prevent England from running away with it on Day 1.