Assistant coach Paul Collingwood admitted England just had to doff their collective caps to Rishabh Pant after he dug India out of a hole.
England and India are finally playing their series decider from last summer, and England looked like they had total control of the match by reducing the tourists to 98 for five.
However, Pant turned the game on its head, hitting a brilliant 146 from 11 deliveries to guide Idia to 338 for seven at stumps on day one.
Although frustrating for England, Collingwood was happy to give all the credit to Pant.
"Today was a great day, I don't feel our backs were against the wall for too long, but hats off to the way Pant played," he said.
"When you're up against world-class players, they can do world-class things. It's been another exciting day of Test cricket, we've had three exciting games against New Zealand and the first day here has been exactly the same.
"You do enjoy it when someone is playing out of their skin in an entertaining manner.
"Brendon has said from the very start he's looking at the bigger picture of Test cricket and for it to survive we've got to make it a lot more entertaining. Today was exactly that - there was wickets and runs, great catches and when you watch someone as exciting as Pant, you've got to applaud."
While James Anderson managed to pick up three wickets before the carnage unfolded during a 222-run stand between Pant and Ravindra Jadeja (83no) and Matthew Potts was able to console himself with two, including the treasured scalp of Virat Kohli, it was a tough time for spinner Jack Leach.
Fresh from his maiden 10-wicket match against the Kiwis at Headingley, he was blasted for 71 off just nine overs. He ended up making way for Joe Root's occasional off-spin, with the part-timer finally ending Pant's stay with a thick edge to slip.
"I wouldn't necessarily say we went wrong today, but what we've found is once the ball goes soft after 30-40 overs it can be very difficult to take wickets if it's not going off straight," said Collingwood.
"It was a brave ball from Joe, I'll say that, but sometimes you need a bit of genius or bravery.
"We're not playing conventional Test match cricket, we're trying to be as attacking as possible and looking to take wickets with the field placings.
"We're not always trying to stem the flow and keep the run-rate down. We want to be on the more aggressive side of the line.
"We can be happy with this day's work and getting them for anything under 360-370 would be a good result for us."