After the one-sided affair in the first Test, the match in Mumbai is shaping up to be a proper contest.
The day began with Monty Panesar completing his third five-wicket haul in his last four Tests, and breaking the partnership that did the damage yesterday sending Ravi Ashwin back to the pavilion for 68. After that Graeme Swann took over, collecting the last three wickets to fall, taking him past 200 in his career, including Cheteshwar Pujara, stumped for 135 after going nearly 17-hours without being dismissed.
Jonathan Trott put down a tough chance off Panesar when Harbhajan Singh had just a single to his name, again leaving question marks as to why he is fielding at slip, while last man Zaheer Khan was adjudged caught at short-leg with the ball nowhere near bat or glove. As long as India refuses to allow the DRS then they forgo their right to complain.
With India all out for 327 England needed to display discipline and concentration; thankfully Alastair Cook is a proven master is such arts, while Nick Compton is showing himself as a useful apprentice.
Nothing ruffles Cook, his expression the same regardless of which end he is standing. He even danced down the track to smash Pragyan Ojha over long-on for six but upon reaching yet another half-century he acknowledged the applause with the look of a job not yet done. England are lucky to have him.
Compton does not look as fluid, and is clearly still focussing more on not getting out than actually scoring runs, scrapping his way to 29 from 90 deliveries before Ojha had him caught at slip. Trott’s troubles continued, lasting just six deliveries before Ojha made him look concrete footed as he missed a straight one.
For Kevin Pietersen this was a big innings. He looked out of sorts in Ahmedabad and with the inexperienced Bairstow and Patel coming next his team needed a big contribution, and as he has done so many times before, he delivered.
The captains past and present took England through the last session undamaged, adding 101 in doing so. Cook is now just 13 runs short of becoming England’s joint leading century maker while Pietersen sits unbeaten on 62.
Although England remain 149 runs behind, if they can force their way into a first innings lead then this Test match could yet bring the redemption they require after the debacle last time out, but with the pitch still offering plenty to the spinners, batting last will be a challenge.