Pant leads counter to recover foothold for India at Edgbaston
Rishabh Pant's inspired counter-attack ensured India ended day one of the final Test against England at Edgbaston still firmly in the match.
England came into the rearranged final encounter of last year's series on a high following the whitewash of New Zealand and soon reduced India to 98-5, before Pant (146 off 111) and Ravindra Jadeja (83 not out) led the fightback.
Their partnership of 222 – in which Pant did the heavy lifting with a barrage of boundaries and the fastest Test century by an India wicketkeeper – helped carry the tourists to 338-7 by stumps.
Ben Stokes had unsurprisingly put India in to bat, potentially pursuing a fourth successive successful fourth-innings chase.
The England captain first needed his bowlers to deliver, and James Anderson (3-52) did exactly that in the morning session in tempting edges from Shubman Gill (17) and Cheteshwar Pujara (13) – Zak Crawley taking each catch either side of putting down a chance from Hanuma Vihari off the bowling of Matthew Potts.
Rain interrupted play – bringing an early lunch – but not England's momentum, as Potts (2-85) pinned Vihari (20) and then bamboozled Virat Kohli (11), who pulled his bat away too late and saw the ball run off the face into his stumps.
Anderson's third wicket from Shreyas Iyer (15) owed a great deal to a superb Sam Billings catch, yet Pant's big hitting turned the tide – helped by some increasingly untidy work from England.
Pant eventually departed to Joe Root, nicking to Crawley in attempting another blast to pass 150, but the hosts still have work to do with the ball before they will again be asked to score well with the bat in a continuation of this entertaining new era under Stokes.
New foe for Kohli
Many have pondered the possibility this is the last time Anderson and Kohli come face to face in a Test match, given the England great turns 40 later this month. No bowler has claimed more Kohli wickets in Tests than Anderson (seven).
But this time it was the turn of the new man. Potts had stunning figures of 3-3 bowling to Kane Williamson in the New Zealand series and quickly added another huge scalp, with Kohli now averaging an underwhelming 28.63 for this delayed series.
Despite India's 2-1 lead as they bid to win a Test series in England for the first time since 2007, Kohli was not alone in struggling slightly with the bat last year. Pant's series average entering this match was 20.86, with a high score of 50.
But suspicions England's aggressive approach could soon meet their match were affirmed by his ability to find the boundary time and again, avoiding the sort of errors on which Stokes' attack might have preyed. Pant had 23 boundaries in this innings, surpassing his 15 in the previous four matches between the sides combined.