Only Cook fell in the first session, his front-foot defence defeated by a ideal off-break from Ashwin - repaying his introduction in only the seventh over, despite being India's sole spinner here, with telling drift from round the wicket before the ball turned and dislodged the off-bail.
Kohli not only surpassed his previous best score of 41 in England but also went ahead to notch his 17th Test fifty off 100 balls before Pandya departed after being trapped in front by Curran.
In an interview with the Times of India, the former all-rounder, 74, praised Kohli, labelling him a much more hard player to stop (for Pakistan) than Sunil Gavaskar and Sachin Tendulkar.
Adil Rashid was introduced in to the attack just before lunch after his controversial return to Test cricket, the spinner starting with a nervous full toss and his one over costing five runs. The hosts eventually folded for 287 before Kohli's epic 149 helped India get within 13 runs of England's first innings total.
But Kohli just about survived.
Kohli was on 97 when No 11 Umesh Yadav walked out to bat, with India 217 for nine in reply to England's first innings 287.
Ben Stokes 100th Test wicket for England Cricket
Stokes also was left to bemoan a dropped catch in the slips, by Alastair Cook, one ball after Dawid Malan dropped Kohli off the bowling of Jimmy Anderson.
England definitely won that session, but will they end up ruing those two drop off Kohli?
Earlier, Jos Buttler was taken to hospital after injuring his left middle finger attempting to take an extremely tough chance off Kohli at gully, but an X-ray revealed it was bruised rather than broken.
Undone by the skill and swing of James Anderson, Kohli endured a nightmare tour in 2014 and had a point to prove this time around, despite playing down the importance of the series on his career in his pre-match press conference. Karthik had dropped Curran on the opening day off the same bowler. Murali Vijay and Shikhar Dhawan looked at ease as they got to 50 without breaking much of a sweat.
Kohli had scored two hundreds in the game at Adelaide in December 2014 but lack of support led to India losing the game by 48 runs.
Anderson bowled tidily in the morning but did not break through until late on, when he bowled Ashwin and had Mohammed Shami edging a drive to Malan.More news: Duchess Meghan 'at wits' end over father