Put into bat on overcast conditions, captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni waged a lone battle amidst the ruins with a gutsy 82 as wickets tumbled at regular intervals on a seaming Oval track.
India could have been in a far grave situation but for a fighting 58-run last wicket partnership between Dhoni and Ishant Sharma.
Ishant, who returned to the team after missing the last two Tests due to injury, gave Dhoni perfect company from the other end to take India close to the 150-run mark before England finally drew curtains on India's innings in 61.1 overs.
England were 62 for no loss in 19 overs at stumps on the opening day of the match.
Skipper Alastair Cook (24 runs, 49 balls, 2 fours) and Sam Robson (33 runs, 65 balls, 5 fours) were unbeaten at the crease.

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Last wicket partnership between Dhoni and Ishant Sharma helps India crawl close to 150

The English opening duo defied the new ball even as the Indian medium-pacers toiled hard in the final session to peg the hosts back.
Bhuvneshwar Kumar (0-25), Ishant (0-12) and Varun Aaron (0-14) searched for wickets in futility. Stuart Binny (0-7) also bowled two overs.
Perhaps the closest the Indian bowlers came to a breakthrough was early on, in the ninth over, when Kumar caught Cook plumb in front of the wicket but umpire Paul Reiffel thought otherwise.
Cook and Robson then settled down as runs started to flow easily and in the process brought up their 50-run partnership in the 16th over of the innings.

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