Sussex's Monty Panesar marked his Test return with four wickets but could find no way past Cheteshwar Pujara as the tireless India No. 3 once again confounded England.
Without Pujara (114 not out), augmenting the unbeaten double-century he made in India's nine-wicket first Test victory, England would surely have bowled their hosts out cheaply on day one of the second at the Wankhede Stadium.
He survived while the rest of the top six faltered against Panesar (4-94) on a spinners' pitch and then shared consecutive 50 stands with Mahendra Singh Dhoni and Ravichandran Ashwin (60 not out) to turn a vulnerable 119-5 into 266-6 by stumps.
The exact merit of that total will not be clear until England's batsmen have tried their hand on a surface sure to provide plenty of assistance for India's three specialist spinners.