Chennai: Rohit Sharma scored a rapid 80 off 78 deliveries (13x4s, 1x6) to take India to 106 for three wickets at lunch on the first day of the second Test, on Saturday.
On a pitch that aided turn from very early and on which left-arm spinner Jack Leach was introduced as early as the eighth over of the match, Sharma looked in control and took on the England attack to put India in the driver's seat before a couple of wickets late in the first session gave Joe Root's side some relief.
India had lost Shubman Gill early with the team total at zero. But then Sharma and No. 3 Cheteshwar Pujara shared an 85-run partnership for the second wicket to help India move into commanding position. The partnership was dominated by Sharma as he unleashed his strokes.
However, just as they looked like they were taking the game away from England, the spinners got into action. Leach got rid of Pujara having him caught at slip by Ben Stokes.
Soon after, off-spinner Moeen Ali, who was proving expensive, spun one back in through the gap between skipper Virat Kohli's (0) bat and pad to reduce India to 86 for three.
Sharma and Ajinkya Rahane (5) were batting at the crease at the end of the first session.
India had won the toss and elected to bat. The hosts made three changes to the side that lost the first Test by 227 runs. They rested pace bowler Jasprit Bumrah and brought in Mohammed Siraj. Left-arm spinner Axar Patel, who is making his Test debut, and Chinaman Kuldeep Yadav replaced left-arm spinner Shahbaz Nadeem and off-spinner Washington Sundar, respectively.
For England, pace bowler Stuart Broad came in for James Anderson, Olly Stone replaced the injured Jofra Archer and picked the wicket of Gill. Off-spin bowling all-rounder Moeen Ali replaced Dom Bess while Ben Foakes replaced Jos Buttler who has gone back to England.
Brief scores (lunch, day 1): India 106/3 (R Sharma batting 80, C Pujara 21; O Stone 1/14, J Leach 1/23, M Ali 1/32) vs England.