Rishabh Pant's flair and Cheteshwar Pujara's doggedness came to India's rescue after a top-order collapse in reply to England's mammoth first innings total of 578 on the third day of the opening Test in Chennai.
Pujara and Pant, heroes of India's remarkable Brisbane Test triumph in the recent tour of Australia, combined to keep India afloat at the MA Chidambaram Stadium.
Earlier, India suffered two setbacks in the form of Virat Kohli and Ajinkya Rahane. Off-spinner Dom Bess struck twice in the space of two overs to give the visitors two vital breakthroughs. Both the Indian openers -- Rohit Sharma and Shubman Gill -- in reply to the hosts' mammoth score.
Pant, who walked in at the fall of Rahane's wicket, played in his inimitable style and took the attack to the English bowlers. Pujara, on the other hand, danced down the track at times while continuing his gritty innings. Pujara departed on 73 as Bess registered his third wicket while Pant kept the scoreboard moving.
However, the young wicketkeeper-batsman fell short of the three-figure mark. Pant, batting on 91, charged down the track to clear the rope over extra over. However, the ball went into the hands of fielder Jack Leach. Since Pant's debut, no other batsman has been dismissed more than twice between 90 and 99.
This was the fourth time in his Test career when Pant has fell in the 90s. Pant, who was hailed as 'The Gabba hero' after his scintillating batting show in the fourth and final Test against Australia, has often received flak for irresponsible shot selection and throwing away wicket in a similar fashion.
(With PTI Inputs)