VISAKHAPATNAM: England seamers dealt early blows to Indian’s batsmen before skipper Virat Kohli and Cheteshwar Pujara steadied the innings on the opening day of the second Test in Visakhapatnam on Thursday.
India were 92 for two at lunch with Kohli (35) and Pujara (37) putting on an unbeaten 70-run stand for the third wicket.
The hosts lost their openers in the first half hour of play after electing to bat first as they were reduced to 22 for two, with Stuart Broad and fit-again James Anderson picking up a wicket each.
Lokesh Rahul, who replaced veteran opener Gautam Gambhir in the starting line-up, was the first to go after edging a Broad delivery to the third slip. He was out for nought.
Paceman Anderson, who returns in the place of Chris Woakes after being sidelined for months with a shoulder injury, sent Murali Vijay (20) trudging back to the pavilion.
Vijay played defensively during his 21-ball stay but failed to negotiate a sharp bouncer from Anderson that got the batsman’s glove as Ben Stokes took his second catch at the third slip.
Pujara and Kohli marked a change of course for the team, forcing England captain Alastair Cook to juggle his bowling options.
Spin was introduced in the 11th over with Zafar Ansari taking charge, while Adil Rashid was also deployed five over later.
Pujara and Kohli combined caution and aggression to thwart the English bowling attack at India’s newest Test venue.
Pujara though survived a couple of run-out scares after the batsman tried to sneak in quick singles and doubles with an unresponsive Kohli at the other end.
Kohli, whose unbeaten 49 in the first Test in Rajkot ensured India a hard-fought draw last week, stayed positive during his 61-ball stay as he hit five boundaries.
India have handed off-spinner Jayant Yadav his Test debut with the Visakhapatnam pitch expected to turn as the match progresses.