THE FIRST day of a Test match in India has almost become a sign-spotting exercise about the rest of the game. Did the ball misbehave a bit? Did it occasionally keep low? Was there any turn? Was there a puff of dust on the pitch in the last session? The first day itself generally flows in an auto-pilot mode, a kind of day England would have dreaded when the tour to India was finalised. Lose the toss, watch Indian batsmen loot runs, and as the day wears on, wince when occasionally the ball does some tricks. Vizag even threw in a dog interruption for that complete Indian experience. There was also a little bit of turn, the odd one that kept low; and some wear and tear appeared on the track.
With the spinners bowling a lot of tripe – they were spot on with the lines if not their lengths at Rajkot but erred on both fronts here — and the seamers unable to get any reverse, it needed a canine intervention to stop Cheteshwar Pujara from making a ton before tea. England started well, curtailing a gorgeous 20 from M Vijay with a bouncer from James Anderson and taking out the Gautam Gambhir replacement KL Rahul cheaply, but came unstuck against the class of Virat Kohli and Pujara.