A century from Moeen Ali and Joe Root’s 88 gave England the better of the first day of the fifth and final Test against India in Chennai.
Moeen, dropped on nought, shared 146 for the third wicket with Root after the tourists had been reduced to 21-2.
When Root was given out caught behind on review, Moeen added 86 with Jonny Bairstow (49) and ended the day 120 not out as England reached 284-4.
The momentum has been with the hosts since the drawn first Test, but they were punished for some sloppy moments – as well as the chance missed off Moeen, Root was given a let-off on nine.
After a difficult morning on a surface offering only slow turn, England positively took the upper hand and must capitalise on day two to bat India out of the match, a task that has been beyond them so far on this tour.
“England will be happy with the way the day has panned out,” said former England spinner Vic Marks on Test Match Special. “At 21-2 you thought ‘hang on a minute, last match of the tour, mind’s not on the job’ and England could have made a fool of themselves.
“Root set the pattern, but Moeen managed to get through that first 30-40 minutes when he struggled, and away he went after lunch. He was in great form by the end, and relished the new ball.”