England 268 for 8 (Rashid 4*, Batty 0*) v India
Live scorecard and ball-by-ball details
"There was a glint in his eye," Alastair Cook said of Jonny Bairstow's reaction to being moved up England's order amid a batting reshuffle for the Mohali Test. After a year of rescuing the side from No. 7, this time he kept their head just above water from No. 5 after England had gift-wrapped the advantage for India despite having won the toss.
England's 268 for 8 was a huge missed opportunity especially as India dropped four catches. But without Bairstow's 89 off 177 balls - ended when he was lbw the ball after being dropped by Parthiv Patel - this Test would have escaped them already. And they would only have had themselves to blame. Winning the toss needs luck, but when the important ones fall your way it is careless not to embrace the opportunity.
Five of England's eight wickets fell to shots that can be classed as careless at best, reckless at worst. But Bairstow, who added consecutive stands of 57, 69 and 45, gave them a chance although late loss of Chris Woakes dented the prospect of a lower-order boost. Compared to last year's Test involving South Africa, the total is already handsome although local judgement is that this pitch is not at that level of mischief.
India's bowling was exacting throughout the day. Ravindra Jadeja performed an excellent holding role either side of tea and claimed two wickets, after the run rate had briefly got away from India in the afternoon session, the pacemen challenged with new ball and old and Jayant Yadav continued his impressive start to Test cricket with the scalps of Bairstow and Joe Root.
There was turn from early, but nothing extravagant, and after the brutish delivery received by Haseeb Hameed in the tenth over, which reared off a length, the bounce largely behaved itself. Reverse swing, especially a spell before tea by Umesh Yadav, posed a significant challenge which was repelled by Bairstow and Jos Buttler, but in the final session it was the squeezing of the run rate - a boundary took Bairstow to 53 off 76 balls, then he needed 99 balls for his next 36 - more than devilish deliveries that made life hard work.
Buttler, playing just his second first-class match since being dropped from the Test side last October, played the other significant innings of the day. Ended with a loose drive to cover, as India throttled the scoring after tea, it was not substantial enough to satisfy England's needs but he played with confidence that belied his lack of recent cricket.
During a frenetic morning, Alastair Cook and Root gifted their wickets to India, as did Moeen Ali to leave England 92 for 4 at lunch. In the afternoon, Ben Stokes joined the list of haphazard dismissals when he charged at and missed a straighter delivery from Jadeja. He had begun the rebuilding job alongside his regular partner-in-crime, Bairstow, as the pair added 57 for the fifth wicket, rather than their usual sixth, which took their tally together for the year to over 800 runs.
Only Hameed could reflect that he did not have a hand in his dismissal in the first session. England were 32 for no loss in the tenth over when the first sign of the tricks that the surface could play brought Hameed's wicket. A delivery from Umesh spat off a length and smashed into Hameed's top glove, forcing him to drop the bat as the ball looped to gully. As with the grubber he received in the second innings of the previous Test, there was little Hameed could do except curse his bad luck.
Cook's was an incident-filled stay as he was twice offered lives. His first came in the third over of the day when he had 3 and was squared up by Mohammed Shami. The leading edge flew quickly towards third slip where Jadeja did not even get a hand on the chance. Then, when Cook had 23, R Ashwin spilled a simple chance at midwicket as Cook flicked at Shami's first ball from round the wicket.
It was shaping up as a morning to forget for Ashwin who also made a mess of trying to intercept a leg-slide flick from Root - with Virat Kohli's expression growing more angered by the minute - but he quickly made amends when tossed the ball, striking first delivery as Cook thin-edged a cut off a wide delivery.
Cook's dismissal meant England had lost their two key batsmen in the space of seven deliveries after Root had absent-mindedly swiped across the line at Jayant having skipped his way to 15 at better than a run-a-ball. After his first-innings dismissal in Vizag, it was another poor moment that England could ill-afford from their best player.
Moeen, one of the England batsmen most comfortable using his feet against the spin, attempted a counter-attack when he came down the pitch to Jayant, who had started with four consecutive maidens, sending back-to-back deliveries straight for four and six. But a return to pace ended his stay when Shami produced a well-directed bouncer by Moeen's shoulder that he could not control and he picked out fine leg.
It meant a familiar pairing had to come to the rescue. During Bairstow's stellar year there has been much debate as to whether he is wasted down at No. 7, particularly given the struggles of others tried higher up England's middle order. His footwork was confident whether playing forward or back, which enabled him to pick the lengths of the spinners instead of being caught betwixt and between.
Stokes, too, had looked in good order - with a stinging straight drive off Shami being particularly eye-catching - before Jadeja earned reward for keeping him quiet. He had only been able to take Jadeja for three runs off 30 deliveries before using his feet and driving around a delivery that did not turn, giving Parthiv plenty of time to complete the stumping. Words were briefly exchange between Stokes and Kohli, two cricketers who don't take a backward step, leading the umpires to intervene.
Bairstow was reprieved on 54 when Parthiv, playing his first Test for eight years and is now slated to open the batting after an injury to KL Rahul, could not hold a thin edge off Ashwin. Initially it appeared to be a missed stumping, as Bairstow dragged his back foot out of the crease, but subsequent replays confirmed the nick. Parthiv later spilled another as Bairstow edged Jayant but he only needed to stew for a matter of seconds when Jayant straighten one into Bairstow's front pad.
Woakes and Adil Rashid almost made it through to the close but Umesh capped India's day byknocking back Woakes' off stump after working over the outside edge. Both sides will know they made mistakes, but India will feel like they got away with theirs. For England it was a day of what could have been.