Mumbai, Dec 8: Promising young opener Keaton Jennings slammed his maiden Test century on his debut before Ravichandran Ashwin produced another fine spell as England scored 288/5 at stumps on Day 1 of fourth Test match against India here on Thursday (Dec 8).
England were going strong by taking tea at 196 for two but India reduced the visitors to 288 for five at stumps as Ashwin removed Moeen Ali (50) and Jennings (112) in space of three balls and later got rid of Jonny Bairstow (14).
Ben Stokes (25) and Jos Buttler (18) were the unbeaten batsmen at close after an unfinished stand of 39 on a track that would be difficult to negotiate with passage of time.
England have messed up a superb start. Bairstow, like Cook and Moeen before him, guilty of playing a poor, low percentage stroke— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) December 8, 2016
Post-tea, Ashwin made the ball talk by extracting turn and bounce from the Wankhede Stadium track and ended with figures of four for 75. England skipper Alastair Cook (46) was dismissed by left-arm spinner Ravindra Jadeja (1/60) in the opening session.
Moeen will be distraught with himself, Cook angry with Moeen. Wicket thrown after fine half century. Lifts India out of seeming haplessness— Cricketwallah (@cricketwallah) December 8, 2016
Other Indian bowlers - medium pacers Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Umesh Yadav and third spinner Jayant Yadav ended the day wicket-less after bowling a combined 43 overs.
The tourists are 0-2 down in the series and need to win this game to keep it alive for the fifth and final Test, scheduled in Chennai from December 16.
Jennings, born in Johannesburg, showed no nerves as he became the 19th batsman from England to make a century on debut against India. It was also the fifth time that a batsman achieved the feat against the hosts since 2010.
You have to love test cricket. Hang in and keep trying, you never know what can happen when the intent is good. Suddenly 3 wickets!— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) December 8, 2016
Jennings, who had come in as replacement for the injured teenaged batsman Haseeb Hameed after the third game, took full advantage of two close shaves early on, including a dropped catch when he had not even opened his account.
He added 99 runs for the first wicket with captain Cook, 37 for the second with Root and 94 for the third with Ali. Joe Root was sent back by Ashwin through a smart catch at slip by home team captain Virat Kohli after Cook had been stumped by Parthiv Patel off Jadeja.
The tourists looked well-poised for a big score at the end of session two when Ashwin, who bowled far better after switching ends, clipped the high-flying England's wings by packing off Ali.
Ali top-edged a sweep and was caught at mid-wicket soon after completing his half-century in 104 balls. Two balls later, Jennings, son of renowned coach Ray, was caught brilliantly by a diving Cheteshwar Pujara at gully.
Jennings had played some audacious reverse sweeps too, including when on the cusp of his landmark, to reach the hundred in 186 balls and laced with 12 fours.
More trouble followed for England when Bairstow, stonewalling with Stokes, was tempted into playing a sweep and top-edged to long leg as the visitors slumped to 249 for five.
It left the sixth wicket pair of Stokes and Buttler to do the resurrection job till close of play.
India: Virat Kohli (Captain), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Parthiv Patel (Wicketkeeper), R Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Jayant Yadav, Umesh Yadav, Bhuvneshwar Kumar.
England: Alastair Cook (Captain), Keaton Jennings, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (Wicketkeeper), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Chris Woakes, Adil Rashid, Jake Ball, James Anderson.