India in the driving seat

Burnley and Pendle Citizen: Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to declare paid off as India claimed three England wickets late on Mahendra Singh Dhoni's decision to declare paid off as India claimed three England wickets late on

England made a hapless start in their efforts to save the first Test, despite an eight-and-a-half-hour demonstration from Cheteshwar Pujara of the skills they need to do so.

India's 521 for eight declared owed much to Pujara's tour de force 206 not out, and more than a little too to the adventure of Virender Sehwag with his destructive hundred on Thursday.

The upshot on day two was that new England captain Alastair Cook and debutant Nick Compton's first task, in pursuit of an opening stalemate in this four-match series, was to come through 18 overs unscathed. Cook survived - but Compton, nightwatchman James Anderson and then Jonathan Trott could not stay with him in a distinctly unpromising stumps total of 41 for three.

England were confronted immediately with Ravichandran Ashwin's much-hyped variations, and spin at both ends by the 10th over when slow left-armer Pragyan Ojha joined in.

A big off-break was too much for Compton, turning between bat and pad to hit leg-stump and give Ashwin his 50th Test wicket, in record Indian time.

Anderson went bat-pad to Ojha an over later, and then in the next Trott fell likewise to Ashwin.

Pujara had earlier ploughed on remorselessly to a maiden double-hundred at this level in only his sixth Test.

He shared a fifth-wicket stand of 130 with Yuvraj Singh (74), and put on another 66 for the seventh with Ashwin before England were granted a rest - after 160 overs of hard and largely unrewarded slog in the sun.

Graeme Swann eventually took his wicket tally to five, for the 14th time for his country, but his successes came at a cost of 144 runs on a lifeless surface offering only slow and irregular turn.

If there was a consolation for England, it was that this pitch has yet to show any significant signs of deterioration - and therefore their prospects of closing out a draw should remain viable.

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