There is a moment - a brief moment - at the start of The Texas Chainsaw Massacre when the naive might be seduced into thinking it is a gentle road-trip movie.

You know things are going to go wrong, though. The word "massacre" is a pretty unsubtle clue as to where the plot is heading. You know you're in for a tough ride.

It was a bit like that on the first day in Visakhapatnam. England started well enough but, the second they lost the toss on this surface, you feared there was trouble ahead. From the moment Virat Kohli got off the mark with a cover-driven boundary off James Anderson, he looked daunting. And, on a pitch that is already showing signs of uneven bounce and spin, you know already that England face a monumental struggle to stay in this game.

The toss in Rajkot was crucial, too. It gave England a chance to apply some scoreboard pressure and the time to ease their way into the series. But the anticipated deterioration in that surface came too late to influence the outcome.

It looks as if Visakhapatnam is going to be different. Even before lunch on the first day, one delivery from Stuart Broad jagged away from the bat sharply off the pitch and a few deliveries seemed to take a piece of the surface when they bounced. Batting last is likely to prove much tougher.

In such circumstances, it is vital the bowling side take any half-chance that comes along in the first innings. Think of the Ashes Test in Adelaide in 2010. Australia won the toss and batted first on a typically excellent batting pitch, but a brilliant bit of fielding by Jonathan Trott in the first over resulted in the run-out of Simon Katich and England took advantage.

Something similar might have happened here. Had Adil Rashid been able to cling on to a tough chance offered by Kohli when he had scored 56, England would have had a key breakthrough. But the chance went to ground and Kohli went on - and on - to make a high-class century. He may well have made the defining contribution to this Test already. The next time Rashid sees Chris Scott (the Durham keeper who dropped Brian Lara in the early stages of his 501 in 1994) they will surely exchanging knowing looks.

While it might be tempting to dismiss the chance as 'one of those things' there was an element of self-inflicted injury about it. With the bowlers unable to find any swing and both batsmen having a couple of questions to answer against the short ball - Cheteshwar Pujara has been hit four times in this series and Kohli is an almost compulsive hooker and puller - England had clearly decided upon a plan of attack. Ben Stokes was to pitch short in the hope that one of the batsmen might hit the ball to one of the men back for the hook.

The flaw in the plan was the choice of fielder at long leg. Rashid is not, by domestic standards, a bad fielder and has pretty safe hands. He is a little slow by the standards of this team so it would, under normal circumstances, make sense to hide him at long leg.

But in these circumstances, with the slips all but out of business and the mishit hook offering England's best chance of a catch, it would have made more sense to place a better fielder in the position.

Rashid was a little slow to react and, though he just about made it to the ball, he was not in a good position to cling on to the catch. It was not straightforward, but it was the sort of chance that several of this England team would have taken far more often than not. To compound the error, Rashid let the ball slip under his body to the boundary later in the same over. Stokes looked as if he could drink hot blood.

Alastair Cook recognised the error. Within a few minutes, he had replaced Rashid with the quicker and more athletic Anderson at long leg. But the moment had gone. Kohli had learned his lesson. He wasn't going to make the same mistake.

If it seems harsh to focus on such a fleeting moment, it is because Test cricket in such circumstances is harsh and unforgiving. Attention to detail over such issues can make all the difference and, by leaving Rashid at long leg, England failed to make the most of their perfectly reasonable plan.

Later, Cook also failed to take advantage of the second new ball. Just two balls after Anderson had Ajinkya Rahane edging a classic outswinger, Ravi Ashwin might have been caught at gully edging a similar delivery. Instead, England had a third man and a deep square leg.

The decision to introduce Zafar Ansari into the attack for the 11th over might also attract some criticism, too. The score was 36 for 2 at the time and Ansari, though he bowled nicely enough in that first spell (six overs for 19 runs), was unable to sustain the pressure.

There was some logic in the decision to turn to him, though. As a left-arm spinner, he was trying to take the ball away from the two right-handed batsmen and Stuart Broad was off the pitch (at that stage he was struggling with a cut sustained in Rajkot and opened by a committed piece of fielding; later he struggled with a sore right foot that may well see him rested for the third Test). It wasn't that the decision was wrong, it was just it didn't work out.

That England remain with any sort of foothold in the game is largely due to the performance of Anderson. Unable to gain much movement with the first ball of the match, he nevertheless took three of the four wickets to fall - bouncing out M Vijay with a sharp short ball and persuading Rahane to nick an outswinger - and managed to gain dangerous swing with the second new ball.

"We thought the way the new ball played in the morning it was the easiest time to bat and didn't swing that much," Anderson said afterwards. "Every time I pitched it up Vijay hit me for four, so I went short. I watched the first Test so I knew there was a chance with the short ball.

"The pitch is quite abrasive and not chewing the ball up as we would like. The outfield is lush so there are not many areas to get the ball to reverse. We got a little bit from 40 to 55 overs but it was tiny.

"I thought we bowled pretty well. There were a couple of periods we let it get away: half an hour before tea we let ourselves down a bit with the ball and in the field. But on that pitch we are reasonably happy with that.

"The wicket was tough to bowl on. The outfield was heavy - there will be some sore legs tomorrow - and the pitch played well. The two guys who got hundreds they set about their business and showed they are world-class. They made it very difficult to bowl at them."

Anderson also warned that conditions could deteriorate sharply, so it was essential for England to strike early on day two and for their batsmen to score heavily in the first innings.

"I'm not sure the pitch will stay together as well as Rajkot," he said. "There are signs of it keeping low. There will be more variable bounce and we have seen a few spin. So we are in tough position and we need to have a good day with the ball and an extremely good go with the bat."