India dropped Alastair Cook again, twice, and after losing the toss, it looked like this might be an awfully long time out in the field for the home team on a flat Mohali wicket. However, the fast bowlers persevered and then the spinners came in to pick up two crucial wickets to give India a lift in the third Test match, with the bowlers then chipping away at England, despite Jonny Bairstow's best efforts.
Choosing to bat first, which was always going to be the case, England would have had a score similar to the one in Rajkot, when they made 533, in mind. And it looked like that might happen after the openers – Cook and Haseeb Hameed – saw off the early new ball threat, with Cook lucky to survive as Ravindra Jadeja dropped the England captain while on 3.
However, off the last ball of the tenth over, with Kohli continuing with the two pacemen Mohammed Shami and Umesh Yadav, India struck. Umesh got a ball to rise up from a good length, catching Hameed (9, 31b, 1x4) off guard, with the ball hitting the gloves and lobbing up to Ajinkya Rahane, who ran in from gully to complete a simple catch.
An equally simple catch fell to R Ashwin soon after, with Cook, on 23, flicking a Shami delivery straight to the India fielder at midwicket, but much to everyone's disbelief the catch was dropped. To rub salt into the wounds, Cook pulled one to the boundary next ball, before Ashwin, in the next over, let a boundary through after horribly mistiming a dive.
Things looked like going pear-shaped for India at that point, but Jayant Yadav, brought in to bowl before Ashwin, got India back into the game. A quicker, flatter delivery from Jayant was misjudged by Joe Root (15, 13b, 3x4), who went for the pull shot, but with the ball not bouncing at all, he got trapped plumb in front, with neither batsmen even thinking about the review.
An over later, Ashwin, off his first delivery of the Test match, got Cook (27, 42b, 6x4) playing a shot outside off-stump, with a thin edge gathered gleefully by Parthiv Patel behind the stumps.
India continued to apply the pressure, with the two off-spinners varying their pace well, but slowly, but surely, Moeen Ali and Jonny Bairstow, batting higher up the order with the inclusion of Jos Buttler, got into their groove. Jayant, after bowling four straight maidens, conceded 26 runs in his next three, as the two England batsmen started to get to grips with the Mohali pitch.
Sensing the need for a change, Kohli brought Shami back on and in his first over of the second spell, he got the big wicket of Ali. Shami dug a ball in short, with Ali (16, 45b, 1x4, 1x6) going for an instinctive pull, but only managing to top-edge it to Murali Vijay at fine-leg.
Bairstow and Ben Stokes put on another strong partnership in the second session, taking England from 87/4 to 144. The two batted beautifully again, not allowing any of the India bowlers to settle, and making sure the scoreboard would move along nicely.
It looked like they would bat out the entire session, such was the comfort with which they were batting in the middle, but then Kohli's decision to persist with Ravindra Jadeja, who wasn't doing much with the ball, worked. Stokes (29, 59b, 5x4), after a couple of dot balls, decided to come down the wicket, the ball just moved a little in the air, beat his bat and Parthiv did the rest behind the stumps.
Parthiv, though, would be at fault a little later, with the wicketkeeper dropping Bairstow off Ashwin when the batsman was on 54. Bairstow would go on to put on a 69-run partnership with Jos Buttler (43, 80b, 5x4), who made a decent return to the team, to take England further out of trouble.
The Buttler wicket came about after some good captaincy from Virat Kohli, who set fields to dry up the runs at the start of the final session, before inducing a false stroke from the naturally-attacking England batsman.
Bairstow, however, was unmoved and the longer he batted the more composed he looked. With Chris Woakes coming back into the side, England's bolstered batting lineup came into play as the two right-handers put on 45 runs together.
But, just as the sun started to set and the day's play wound down, Kohli's decision to stay with the spinners and not take the second new ball worked. Coming from around the wicket, Jayant found the outside edge of Bairstow, with Parthiv, again, dropping the catch. However, off the next ball, bowling from the same angle, Jayant got one to just come back in after pitching and Bairstow (89, 177b, 6x4) was given out lbw. The England batsman went for the review, but the ball tracker showed it was hitting bang on leg-stump.
The new ball was finally taken with four overs to go, and off the penultimate over of the day, Umesh got one through to castle Woakes (25, 70b, 3x4).
Scores: First innings: England: 268/8 in 90 overs.
First session: 92/4 in 29 overs.
Second session: 113/1 in 33 overs.
Third session: 63/3 in 28 overs.
Batting for England: Adil Rashid (4, 24b) and Gareth Batty (0, 0b).
Bowling: India: Mohammed Shami 20-5-52-1; Umesh Yadav 16-4-58-2; Jayant Yadav 15-5-49-2; R Ashwin 18-1-43-1; Ravindra Jadeja 21-3-56-2.
Fall of wickets: England: 32/1, Haseeb Hameed (10 overs); 51/2, Joe Root (14.1 overs); 51/3, Alastair Cook (15.1 overs); 87/4, Moeen Ali (27.3 overs); 144/5, Ben Stokes (44 overs); 213/6, Jos Buttler (68.1 overs); 258/7, Jonny Bairstow (83.4 overs); 266/8, Chris Woakes (89 overs).
Watch the highlights of the first day HERE