AHMEDABAD  - Alastair Cook and Nick Compton made the perfect start to England's rescue mission – but only after another dismal batting effort put them in jeopardy.

The pair put on a much needed 111-0 after following on 330 runs behind, and it was as calm and purposeful as the first innings was a panicky mess. Spin twins Pragyan Ojha with 5-45 and R Ashwin were the predictable architects of England's 1 innings demise as they crumbled to 190 all out and facing defeat head on.

Full credit to Cook and Compton for batting far better second time around and proving that it was English deficiencies that had put them up the creek without a paddle. They restored a little pride and can go further, however they still remain up that creek for now with two days left in the game.

In many ways the morning worse than anything in the UAE or Sri Lanka, because it showed that England hadn't learned much in 12 months. They were still guilty of the same poor shot selection that dogged them in January, the same startled look when the ball spun past them and the same failure to judge the situation and play accordingly.

Starting the day 480 behind, England's two most experienced batsmen had a responsibility to calm the nerves of the dressing room and hold the fort with authority. Instead Kevin Pietersen could have been dismissed by any ball bowled at him between the start of play and the one that got him for 17.

It was edgy, lucky, nerve-jangling stuff and unsurprisingly it was the left arm spin of Ojha that accounted for him, missing the ball entirely as it clattered into his middle stump. Not good. Out came Ian Bell, a man who doesn't have a great record in India, a man who's wife is about to have their first baby following the Test, and a man who was scarred more than anyone bar Eoin Morgan in the UAE.

Absolutely none of that mattered when it came to the shot he played first ball, dancing down the track trying to loft the ball straight back over the bowler's head, but watching as Sachin Tendulkar at mid-off caught it. It was the single worst piece of cricket by a senior England batsman in recent memory. Bell will have nightmares about it.

Cook should have gone lbw on 34, but with no DRS he survived to score seven more before edging R Ashwin to slip with a drive. There was still time for Samit Patel to show why many in these parts consider him to be England's best player of spin, only to be given out lbw to the medium pace of Umesh Yadav.

So to lunch then at 110-7 and in complete disarray. Call it deja vu, groundhog day or simply England in India, it was weak. Tim Bresnan and Stuart Broad both connected with a few shots as the soft ball proved easier to manage and score runs against, however they too succumbed.

Bresnan to a beauty of a ball that he did well to edge, and Broad to another quick raise of the finger from Aleem Dar when DRS might well have spared him. It remains a sad blight on the game that Test cricket in India does not use technology to help with decisions.

England though won't be complaining after watching another two decisions go their way following on which could have removed both Compton and Cook. They survived and will continue the rescue mission with a long way to go on day four.


India Ist innings: 522/8 dec

England 1st innings:

AN Cookc Sehwag b Ashwin     41

NRD Compton  b Ashwin     9

JM Anderson c Gambhir b Ojha     2

IJL Trott c Pujara b Ashwin     0

KP Pietersen b Ojha     17

IR Bell c Tendulkar b Ojha     0

SR Patel lbw b Yadav     10

MJ Prior b Ojha     48

TT Bresnan c Kohli b Ojha     19

SCJ Broad lbw b Khan     25

GP Swann not out     3

EXTRAS: (b 5, lb 12)     17

TOTAL: (all out; 74.2 overs)     191

FOW: 1-26, 2-29, 3-30, 4-69, 5-69, 6-80, 7-97, 8-144, 9-187, 10-191

BOWLING: Ashwin  27-9=80-3, Zaheer Khan 15-70-23-1, PP Ojha 22.2-8-45-5, Yuvraj Singh 3-0-12- Yadav  7-2-14-1

England 2nd innings: 

AN Cook not out     74

NRD Compton not out     34

EXTRAS (lb 3)     3

Total: (No wickets; 38 overs)     111

To bat IJL Trott, KP Pietersen, IR Bell, SR Patel, MJ Prior†, SCJ Broad, TT Bresnan, GP Swann, JM Anderson

BOWLING: UT Yadav 7-1-15-0, PP Ojha 14-3-34-    0, R Ashwin 14-3-49-0, V Sehwag 1-0-1-    0, Zaheer Khan 1-0-1-0 , SR Tendulkar 1-0-8-0,