Jonny Bairstow lived up to his billing as the world's most prolific Test batsman this year as he bailed England out against India.
Bairstow (66 not out) had been moved up from seven to number five in the order for this third Test in England's Mohali reshuffle and he proved equally at home to underpin a much-needed recovery to a teatime 205 for five from 87 for four before lunch.
First he combined again with his most trusted partner Ben Stokes - a pairing who have three hundred stands, and one of 99, on their 2016 CV. Bairstow was then joined by Jos Buttler as England steadied their nascent bid to square the series at 1-1.
It was hardly riches yet, but a vast improvement on the trouble the tourists found for themselves on an eventful morning after Alastair Cook won the toss.
There was plenty more in this pitch for the seamers than had been predicted and both teams were suitably convinced to stick with three spinners each.
England's first wicket fell to pace when Haseeb Hameed succumbed to extra bounce from Umesh Yadav, whose delivery hit his top glove and looped for a simple catch at gully.
But it was after Joe Root and then Cook himself both fell to spin without addition to the total that England had hit trouble, before Moeen Ali's counter-attacking response also fell short.
Cook was unable to make the most of a moment of fortune on 23 when Ravi Ashwin unaccountably put down an easy chance at midwicket off Mohammad Shami.
It was to cost India only four runs as Ashwin made sure he did not have to brood for long. He removed the England captain, caught behind cutting, with his very first delivery after coming on as second change.
By then, Ashwin's fellow off-spinner Jayant Yadav had already dismissed Root. The Yorkshire batsman misread the good length of an off break and was hit bang in front lbw after a failed attempt to farm leg-side runs from the first ball after mid-session drinks.
It was evident from the outset that batting would not be easy for England, both openers playing and missing several times as the new ball swung, with carry - and Umesh even found a little seam movement.
In the circumstances, despite Hameed's departure, they made an acceptable start in the first hour.
But they went from 32 without loss to 51 for three.
The return of Shami was then too much for Moeen, tempted into a hook shot which steepled down to fine leg where Murali Vijay took the catch.
Bairstow and Stokes shared an encouraging stand of 57 either side of lunch, until the latter lost patience against Ravindra Jadeja.
Stokes, initially fluent, had managed just three singles from 30 balls off the slow left-armer before rushing up the pitch and failing to get to the pitch of a delivery that slid on with the arm past the outside-edge and presented Parthiv Patel with an easy stumping chance.
Stokes interrupted his trudge off to check the content of remarks apparently directed at him by India captain Virat Kohli, but resumed his departure before any ill-feeling could escalate.
Parthiv fumbled a chance to stump Bairstow too on 54 off Ashwin.
But Umesh produced a spell of swing with the old ball which tested both the set batsman and Buttler, who was trying to adapt to the demands of this format in his first Test match since being dropped 13 months ago.
On seven, Buttler edged Umesh at catchable height between the slips before he and Bairstow began to hint in an unbroken stand of 61 that England might be capable of digging out a substantial first-innings total after all.Reuse content