London:India was 316 for four at stumps on day one of the third and final Test against Engand at the Oval on Thursday.
At the close of play, Sachin Tendulkar was batting on 48 and VVS Laxman was unbeaten on 20.
Skipper Rahul Dravid called the coin correctly and in the absence of any cloud cover decided to bat on a belter of a wicket.
Wasim Jaffer and Dinesh Karthik backed their captain's call with a fine start. After three runless overs, the two launched themselves into the English attack and put on a 62-run opening stand.
Jaffer was the first to go. He played a fine cameo knock of 35 before holding out to Kevin Pietersen off a James Anderson delivery.
Dravid, who has had an indifferent run of form, joined Karthik and kept up the pace. Karthik brought up his sixth test fifty as India took lunch at 117 for one.
The duo returned to torment the England attack. Dravid brought up his 48th Test fifty - his first in the last 11 innings outside the subcontinent. In his previous innings at this venue in 2007, Dravid had made 217.
But this time he misjudged the line and was bowled by Anderson for 55. He put on 127 runs for the second wicket with Karthik.
The opener looked in prime touch and it seemed he would reach his hundred in no time. But it was not to be. Karthik fell nine short of the mark. He was caught behind by Matt Prior off Ryan Sidebottom.
India took tea at 211 for three with Sourav Ganguly and Tendulkar together.
The two batted with patience, but still showed flashes of the past. Ganguly even stepped outside to hoist Monty Panesar for a towering six.
Tendulkar got a reprieve when Matt Prior dropped a catch when he was on 20. Sidebottom was the unlucky bowler.
The two put on 77 runs for the fourth wicket before a poor umpiring decision resulted in the dismissal of Ganguly. The southpaw was adjudged lbw to Paul Collingwood for 37. Replays, however, clearly showed that the ball had hit the bat before hitting the pad. Ganguly walked off with a wry smile.
At the close of the day's play, Tendulkar was unbeaten on 48 and Laxman was 20 not out. The Hyderabadi also went past the 5,000-Test run mark
With a 1-0 lead in the three-Test series, Team India know that this is their best chance to win a first Test series on English soil since 1986. The two teams have fielded an unchanged side.
While Dravid and company will look to end their 21-year-long drought of a series triumph in England, Michael Vaughan and his men on the other hand too have a record to protect. They have been unbeaten at home since 2001.
India: Wasim Jaffer, Dinesh Karthik, Rahul Dravid, Sachin Tendulkar, Sourav Ganguly, VVS Laxman, MS Dhoni, Anil Kumble, Zaheer Khan, RP Singh, S Sreesanth.
England: Andrew Strauss, Alistair Cook, Michael Vaughan, Kevin Pietersen, Paul Collingwood, Ian Bell, Matt Prior, Chris Tremlett, Ryan Sidebottom, Monty Panesar, James Anderson.