Birmingham - England captain Joe Root's unbeaten 65 helped steer his side to 163 for three against India at tea on the first day of the first Test at Edgbaston on Wednesday.
Mohammad Shami struck twice to remove Keaton Jennings (42) and Dawid Malan (eight) and at the interval the paceman had fine figures of two wickets for 27 runs in 10 overs.
But Root held firm, with his Yorkshire team-mate Jonny Bairstow 27 not out at tea in what is England's 1,000th Test match.
England suffered an early setback after Root won the toss on a typically good Edgbaston pitch.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, brought on as soon as the seventh over by India captain Virat Kohli, struck with his 11th delivery.
From round the wicket, he bowled Alastair Cook - England's all-time leading Test run-scorer - for 13 with an excellent ball that pitched on middle and hit the top of off stump.
Just prior to Cook's dismissal, fellow left-handed opener Jennings was dropped on nine off the bowling of Ishant Sharma when Ajinkya Rahane, diving across from fourth slip, failed to hold a tough chance.
Root, who has made 10 Test fifties since he last scored a century at this level, then took advantage of several loose deliveries.
At lunch, the England skipper had struck four fours in 63 balls faced, with Jennings also hitting four boundaries.
Root was fortunate when he edged the final delivery before lunch, from all-rounder Hardik Pandya, onto his pads only for the ball to trickle past his leg stump, with the hosts then 83 for one.
Shami, surprisingly denied the new ball by Kohli, did trouble both of England's second-wicket duo outside their respective off-stumps without taking a wicket in the opening session of this five-match series.
But his accuracy was eventually rewarded with Jennings, playing on via bat, pad and heel, to end a promising 98-ball innings of more than two-and-a-half hours and a stand of 72 with Root.
Malan, who survived an lbw appeal from Ashwin, was then leg before to Shami as he played back.
England reviewed, but with replays upholding the umpire's call of New Zealand's Chris Gaffaney on both height and impact, Malan had to go.
Root, who in the course of his innings passed 6,000 Test runs, went to his fifty in 107 balls.
Bairstow, however, was quickly into his stride, drilling Sharma through cover-point for four, and he helped Root add fifty in just 76 balls.