And after being bowled out for just 287 - having been 216-3 after winning the toss - they needed it.
England also lost a review when Vijay was struck on the pad by Anderson on six, but the ball was found to be drifting down the legside.
It is also his first Test century in England.
This time, however, feels different.
Skipper Joe Root walked in next and looked to stabilize the situation with opener Keaton Jennings, who looked impressive with his score of 42 from 98 balls and was perhaps unfortunate to have missed out on a half-century when a Mohammed Shami delivery tricked through to dislodge the bails.
It was not an easy start for Kohli.
This will be one of the key battles of the Test series as the No1 Indian batsmen takes on the No1 England bowler.
England made a solid start on day one of the first test against India as they reached 83 for one at lunch on Wednesday.
He removed his wedding ring from around his neck and kissed it - a nod to his wife, Anushka, who was blamed for his poor form in 2014 - before he took the attack to England.
"Rooty played fantastically well", said Jennings. "You were of course privy to the conversation, with me, yourself and Ravi bhai", he told Arun. "OK, I'll stick around'".
But one positive for the tourists to grab hold off while they bite into their cucumber sandwiches is the fact that Virat Kohli is still at the crease on 53 not out.
Anderson bowled a five-over spell during which he tied down Kohli, while Stokes did the damage.
Anderson improved his length and troubled Kohli for the next two overs, before Rashid brought things to a close in this session.
He dived to his left at gully in an attempt to catch Kohli off Anderson but the ball did not quite carry and appeared to clip his fingertip.
It got a little better for Stokes in India two years ago when he conceded 69 runs, including 12 boundaries, at a strike rate of 60 but managed to dismiss the right hander twice - taking 57.5 balls each time at an average of 34.5.
This is the first of a five-match series.
Umesh Yadav (1no) survived the over though and Kohli's big moment came as he cut the ball away for four and celebrated in typically exuberant fashion.
James Anderson was England's most economical bowler with 41 runs off 22 overs while Curran bagged four wickets.