Kolkata: England could not have asked for a worse start to the day-night Test at the world’s largest cricket stadium, named after Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, when they were all out for a measley 112 after opting to bat first on Wednesday.
Axar Patel, the left-arm spinning allrounder, followed up his debut fifer with figures of 21.4-6-38-6 at Ahmedabad while senior partner Ravichandran Ashwin claimed three for 26 with the hard new pink ball on a dry surface. Opener Zak Crawley, who was the fourth batsman to be dismissed, was the topscorer with a sprightly 53 till he was caught in front of the wicket off Patel.
England made four changes to their playing XI but the strong start Joe Root wanted after electing to bat did not materialise.
Playing his 100th Test, Ishant Sharma had Dom Sibley caught in the slip in the third over and Jonny Bairstow fell for a duck in his first match of the four-Test series.
India captain Virat Kohli introduced spin as early as in the seventh over and Patel trapped Bairstow lbw with his first delivery. The batsman reviewed the decision but could not get it overturned.
At the other end, Crawley batted as if on a different pitch - dealing mostly in sweetly-timed boundaries. Crawley brought up his fifty off 68 balls with his 10th boundary as he and Root, who made 17, began to stitch together a partnership.
Ashwin had other ideas, though, and the off-spinner trapped Root lbw with a fuller delivery. Root reviewed the decision but could not prolong his innings.
Patel removed Crawley in similar fashion towards the end of the session to give India an upperhand early in the match.