Centurion Jennings aces maiden Test, Ashwin hits back for India


England's Keaton Jennings seized his opportunity with a magnificent debut hundred before Ravichandran Ashwin hit back for India on day one of the fourth Test in Mumbai.

Enjoying his Test bow as a replacement for the injured Haseeb Hameed, opener Jennings - the son of ex-South Africa coach Ray and a former captain of the Proteas at Under-19 level - made light of his inexperience to compile 112 after Alastair Cook won the toss.

The left-hander's assured innings saw him prosper against spin and seam after being dropped on nought, at a venue where England have won each of their last two Tests and must triumph again to keep their hopes of a series draw alive.

Jennings shared in respective partnerships of 99 and 94 with skipper Cook (46) and Moeen Ali (50), but Ashwin (4-75) then picked up three wickets in quick succession to ensure the tourists slipped from 230-2 to 288-5 at stumps.

Nevertheless, England may well feel they retain the upper hand given the appreciable turn and bounce already on offer at the Wankhede Stadium.

Jake Ball was preferred to Gareth Batty in the other change to Cook's team, while Bhuvneshwar Kumar and KL Rahul replaced Mohammed Shami and Ajinkya Rahane for India, the latter's injury-enforced absence meaning Karun Nair retained his spot.

It was Nair who put down a sharp chance at gully to reprieve Jennings in the fourth over, while England's newest cap also survived an lbw review on 10.

Jennings was soon dominating proceedings, however, his positive approach against spin epitomised by a number of orthodox and reverse sweep shots as India were made to toil.

The hosts did pick up two key wickets either side of lunch, Cook stumped off Ravindra Jadeja before Virat Kohli took a fine catch to his left at slip off Ashwin to account for Joe Root (21).

A worrying delay followed when a lobbed throw from the outfield resulted in the ball hitting umpire Paul Reiffel on the back of the head. Reiffel was forced to leave the field, with third umpire Marais Erasmus assuming on-field duties, but the Australian was duly given the all-clear and is expected to return to action on Friday.

Jennings was not distracted by the unexpected break in play and reached three figures in style with a reverse-swept four off Jayant Yadav.

At that point, England were cruising and Moeen upped the ante thereafter, only for his positive approach to then backfire.

A top-edged slog-sweep off Ashwin ended Moeen's innings in the over after he had moved to 50 and Jennings was caught at gully two balls later.

Ashwin also had Jonny Bairstow (14) caught in the deep as the pitch provided increasing assistance to the spinners, but Ben Stokes (25 not out) and Jos Buttler (18 not out) survived some hairy moments in a valuable unbroken stand of 39.