Alastair Cook and Kevin Pietersen saw England to stumps on day two in a solid position on 178 for two against India in the second Test in Mumbai.
Cook (87 not out) and Pietersen (62 not out) combined for 110 runs to draw the tourists to within 149 runs of India's first-innings total, having bowled the hosts out for 327 earlier in the morning.
It was an impressive performance on a track where spin was continually a threat, and a first-innings effort that represented an enormous improvement on the tourists' shambolic start to the previous Test in Ahmedabad.
England scarcely deviated from spin in the morning, and India struggled to score at any pace as they looked to turn their overnight score into an imposing total.
Monty Panesar ended Ravichandran Ashwin's innings on 68 to seal a five-wicket haul, before Graeme Swann mopped up the rest of the wickets, including that of Cheteshwar Pujara for 135, his first dismissal of the series after more than 1,000 minutes of batting.
The turn and bounce they produced would have given India heart, despite the wickets falling. Ashwin was trapped by Panesar's arm ball, while Swann beat Harbhajan Singh (21) with flight and angle for his 200th Test wicket, before turning the ball past Pujara for Prior to whip off the bails.
Zaheer Khan was most unfortunate to be given out to a bat-pad decision by Umpire Aleem Dar despite the ball missing the bat by several inches, but it left India, who opened the bowl with spin from both ends, a four-over spell to test England before lunch.
Cook and Nick Compton negotiated that, and went on to bat through most of the afternoon session, with the spin perhaps negated by the use of the roller at the change of ends to flatten things.
But scoring was heavy-going, with the occasional delivery from the tall Ashwin or the loopy Ojha misbehaving.
Cook countered that with some aggressive shots, three times hitting Ojha over the top for two fours and a six. Compton was more cautious, but took singles and provided a foil for his captain.
He fell to Ojha, however, tickling a good ball to Virender Sehwag at first slip on 29.
Jonathan Trott departed soon after, caught on the back pad by an Ojha delivery that looked destined to hit two-thirds of the way up middle stump.
England were tottering at 68 for two, but Pietersen's arrival changed the momentum of the game.
After a clumsy performance in Ahmedabad, he was seen speaking to Shane Warne, in India on commentary duties, and told to trust his eye and technique. His positive approach accelerated the run rate sharply from little more than two an over, and rattled the home side.
Pietersen was particularly strong on the cut and drive through the back foot, and rarely produced a false stroke.
Cook, meanwhile, felt free to play at his own pace, relying on judicious use of the sweep and cut to accumulate runs against the spinners.
There were plenty of deliveries which troubled the duo, but when the pitch misbehaved they did not panic, and played as before.
A disappointing day for India would have been given a late gloss had Harbhajan been given the wicket of Cook after the skipper missed the ball playing across the line on 84. Not for the first time in this series, Hawk-Eye showed it was another mistake from Aleem Dar to deem Cook not out, but without the DRS process to resort to, India were simply left to rue their bad luck.
Batting is still far from straightforward, but as Cook and Pietersen each close on their 22nd Test centuries - both would then share the record for an England batsman should they reach the landmark, alongside Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey and Geoffrey Boycott - England can begin to contemplate moving into a first-innings lead and the possibility of levelling the four-match series at 1-1.
- Sports & Recreation
- Kevin Pietersen