AHMEDABAD: Virender Sehwag's century propelled India to a dominating position on Thursday as the first Test against England got underway at the Sardar Patel Stadium in Ahmedabad.
Sehwag made 117 runs off 117 balls, sharing an opening stand with Gautam Gambhir after MS Dhoni won the toss and elected to bat first. Cheteshwar Pujara was at 98 not out as the hosts closed at 323 for four.
Graeme Swann took all the four wickets, giving some semblance of a fightback from England, however, his efforts were hindered by costly fielding mistakes, including four dropped catches.
The match sees Alastair Cook officially take over as captain and also marks Nick Compton's Test debut. England left out Monty Panesar and picked three seamers with Tim Bresnan coming in for the injured Steven Finn.
England had a chance to halt Sehwag after lunch but Matt Prior could not hold on to the catch and later also missed an opportunity to send Gambhir back to the pavillion before he was clean bowled by Swann.
Sehwag was eventually also bowled out, followed by Sachin Tendulkar who was caught out by Patel at 13. Virat Kohli, who took 30 balls to score his first run, was dropped at four by Jonathon Trott off Swann before being bowled.
Sehwag said he had played carefully to reach his century, adding that England still posed a threat despite India's seemingly dominant position.
"I have to thank my video analyst Dhananjay. We watched the videos of my past innings where I got hundreds till 11 pm last night. I saw that when I played the first ten overs cautiously I had reached 100. I did the same today," Sehwag said.
"The wicket will turn tomorrow. There is some help for the spinners. But the bowler needs to be patient," he said.
Swann praised Sehwag's innings, saying that the plan was to restrict them to another hundred runs.
"It was a tough first session. The way their guys came out and batted - Sehwag was superb for the first two hours, Swann said in an interview with SkySports.
"But I thought after that we bounced back well and it was nice to pick up some wickets myself. We will need to get quick wickets in the morning. We need to keep them below 450," he added.
India: V Sehwag, G Gambhir, CA Pujara, SR Tendulkar, V Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, MS Dhoni*†, R Ashwin, Z Khan, UT Yadav, PP Ojha
England: AN Cook*, NRD Compton, IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, SR Patel, MJ Prior†, SCJ Broad, TT Bresnan, GP Swann, JM Anderson