An unbeaten sixth-wicket stand of 60 between debutant Joe Root and Matt Prior allowed England to share the honours with India on a painstakingly slow first day of the fourth and final Test in Nagpur.
England finished on 5-199 from 97 overs, with Kevin Pietersen (73) and Matt Prior (44) adding 86 for the third wicket before both were dismissed by Ravindra Jadeja, who was also on debut.
Unusually, India went into the game with just one seamer, Ishant Sharma, and it was the left-armer who had the visitors in early trouble at 2-16 with the wickets of openers Nick Compton (3) and Alastair Cook (1), who was unlucky to be given out lbw.
The out-of-touch Ian Bell fell to leg spinner Piyush Chawla for a 28-ball single, and when Pietersen was fifth man out with the score of 139, England were in trouble.
But Root (31), in for Samit Patel, and Prior (34) dug in on a slow, low wicket which is unlikely to play any easier as the match progresses.
England, who lead the series 2-1, need to avoid defeat to claim a first win in India for 28 years.