Chennai, Dec 16: Left-handed all-rounder Moeen Ali struck his second century of the series as England scored 284/4 on the first day of the 5th and final Test against India here at the MA Chidambaram Stadium, on Friday (December 16).
Ali (120*) and Ben Stokes (5*) are at the crease and the duo will take visitors' innings forward on Day 2 from here on.
England lost openers early in the morning session before Joe Root (88) and Ali steadied the English ship and later, a gritty partnership between Jonny Bairstow and Ali helped the visitors dominate Indian bowlers.
Young opener Keaton Jennings (1) and skipper Alastair Cook (10) were the 2 wickets Indian bowlers bagged to push the visitors to the wall in the 1st session.
Root slammed his 27th Test fifty but the top order batsman was unlucky to miss out on a well deserved hundred. Root was dismissed after India took DRS to review a caught behind which the ultra-edge confirmed after umpire turned down India's appeal.
Root and Ali together put on 140-run partnership for the 3rd wicket and frustrated Indian bowlers.
After Root's departure, new man Bairstow started playing aggressively and once again put pressure on the hosts. But, Bairstow was also removed by Ravindra Jadeja when he was one short of his 50.
Joe Root is playing his 11th Test match against India since his debut in December 2012— Mohandas Menon (@mohanstatsman) December 16, 2016
He has a fifty in each of his 11 Tests!#IndvEng
Jadeja was the pick of Indian bowlers who took 3 wickets for 73 runs in 28 overs. Ishant Sharma got the other wicket for the hosts.
Earlier, Cook won the toss and elected to bat first but failed to capitalise over it. Cook has won 4 out of 5 tosses in the series but England trail 5-Test series 3-0. Both England and India made two changes to their Playing XIs.
Spinner Liam Dawson made his Test debut for England while veteran pacer Stuart Broad returned to the side. James Anderson and Chris Woakes missed out.
India on the other hand brought in Ishant into the side in place of Bhuvneshwar Kumar while legspinner Amit Mishra replaced Jayant Yadav, who was the centurion in the previous game.
The last time India XI were unchanged was the Lord's Test in July 2014, which India won by 95 runs. Since then in 27 Tests India have never played the same XI.
Having already lost the series, England would be hoping to win the final Test as a consolation prize.
Cricket will provide the ravaged city some succour and the Indian team an opportunity to record its biggest-ever series victory.
The match will also be a chance for the Indians to stretch their unbeaten run to a record 18 matches. The southern metropolis has been ravaged by Cyclone Vardah that left in its wake, large-scale destruction.
India are leading the five-match series 3-0 and should they taste success in the final Test, it will be their biggest against England, the previous being the 3-0 whitewash in 1992-93 under Mohammed Azharuddin's captaincy.
It will be a sweet revenge for the twin defeats, including a 4-0 drubbing in 2011, which India suffered at the hands of England in the last two series between the two nations.
India: Virat Kohli (captain), Murali Vijay, KL Rahul, Cheteshwar Pujara, Karun Nair, Parthiv Patel (wicketkeeper), Ravichandran Ashwin, Ravindra Jadeja, Amit Mishra, Ishant Sharma, Umesh Yadav.
England: Alastair Cook (captain), Keaton Jennings, Joe Root, Moeen Ali, Jonny Bairstow (wicketkeeper), Ben Stokes, Jos Buttler, Liam Dawson, Adil Rashid, Stuart Broad, Jake Ball.