Cheteshwar Pujara cracked his second consecutive Test century as India recovered from a precarious situation to restore the balance in the second cricket Test against England here today.
Pujara, who had scored a double century in the first match, notched up his third Test century to remain unbeaten on 114 on a turning track at the Wankhede Stadium and steered the hosts to a far more comfortable 266 for six at close on an eventful opening day.
Pujara found an able ally in Ravichandran Ashwin (60 batting) as the duo put on unfinished 97-run partnership for the seventh wicket to bail them out after the hosts were reeling at 119 for five at one stage.
Barring Pujara and Ashwin, none of the batsman in the star-studded line-up could make an impression on a track that started turning from the second session onwards and which was exploited by left-arm spinner Monty Panesar who claimed four wickets.
Coming to the crease after the second ball dismissal of Gautam Gambhir, the 25-year-old Pujara kept one end going by showing superb judgement against the spinning ball to pull India out of a deep hole after the home team opted to bat first on winning the toss.
Pujara stayed for just over six hours in which he had faced 279 balls and struck ten fours. Ashwin faced 84 for his valuable knock.
Pujara came into the game on the back of his unbeaten knocks of 206 and 41 in the two innings of the opening Test at Ahmedabad, which fetched him the Man of the Match award and paved the way for his team's comprehensive nine-wicket victory.
Panesar, who took four for 91 by the end of the day's day, was played with a lot of assurance by Pujara.
It was the Rajkot-born youngster's third 100-plus knock in his last four Test matches, having scored a maiden century (159) against New Zealand in August.
Pujara, who has been dismissed only in the warm-up game for Mumbai A after making 87, continued to prosper against the visitors with his exemplary concentration and shot selection.
He gave one chance, when on 60, when he edged Panesar but James Anderson could not latch on to it.
When on 94, England needlessly appealed against him for a catch at midwicket, which was referred to the third umpire and the replays showed the ball had bounced in front of the short leg fielder.
The early part of the day belonged to