Stuart Broad dismissed Virat Kohli cheaply but Lokesh Rahul registered his fourth test hundred to lead India’s strong reply to England’s first innings total of 477 on day three of the fifth and final test on Sunday.
India were off to a solid start with their make-shift opening pair of Rahul and Parthiv Patel adding 152 runs for the opening stand but England claimed two wickets after lunch to restrict them to 256 for three at tea.
Rahul was batting on 133 at the break with Karun Nair on 19 at the other end with India, who have taken an unassailable 3-0 lead in the series, still 221 runs behind.
On a track getting increasingly easier to bat on, Rahul and Patel combined to forge India’s first century-plus opening stand in 32 innings.
Resuming on 60 for no loss, Rahul and Patel negotiated the English attack with consummate ease on a flat MA Chidambaram Stadium track which offered little assistance to the bowlers.
Patel, who replaced injured regular keeper Wriddhiman Saha after the second test, impressed with his commitment, having kept wickets for over 157 overs and then returning to partner Rahul after opener Murali Vijay sustained a shoulder injury which prompted him to bat lower.
Rahul was particularly harsh on debutant Liam Dawson, twice stepping out against the left-arm spinner to hit him for sixes.
Rahul took two runs off Stuart Broad to bring up his second fifty while Patel pulled paceman Jake Ball and ran two to register his sixth test half-century, second of the series.
The southpaw stepped out to hit Moeen Ali for his seventh boundary but fell for a career-best 71 two balls later, trying to repeat the risky shot against the turn.
Cheteshwar Pujara hit three boundaries in his 16 before edging a wide Ben Stokes delivery to slip but it was Broad who dealt the biggest blow with a slow leg-cutter which Kohli drove straight to short cover.
By then, Rahul had registered his first century on home soil, courtesy of an overthrow, and celebrated it by pumping air and kissing the badge on his helmet.
Apart from the two sixes off Dawson, Rahul’s 228-ball knock included nine boundaries.
(Reporting by Amlan Chakraborty in New Delhi; editing by Sudipto Ganguly)