Having won the toss and elected to bat, Alastair Cook's side overcame a shaky start to finish the day on 311-4, with Root having made 124 and Ali still unbeaten, just one short of a century on 99*.
Overall, it was a fantastic day for the England side, who will hope to shake off the underdog tag throughout the series.
Three spinners and a debut for Hameed
Things couldn't have started much better as Cook won the toss, announcing that his side were fielding three spinners, in Adil Rashid, Zafar Ansari and of course the aforementioned Ali.
Teenage opener Haseeb Hameed made his debut, and scored quickly early on as England made a solid start, before the 19-year-old watched on as Ravindra Jadeja dismissed Cook for LBW.
Hameed looked impressive on his debut, but fell before lunch for 31, Ravichandran Ashwin claiming the first of many potential victims in the series.
Root and Ali banish troubles
England looked in a spot of trouble when Ben Duckett's dismissal saw them slip to 102/3, but they weren't to fear as Root and Ali set about putting them back on track, meaning that as people woke up around England on Wednesday, their side had passed 200 without the loss of anymore wickets.
He brought up an 11th test century with a nice sweep off Ashwin's spin, becoming the first player from a visiting side to score a test century in England since Michael Clark in 2013.
Rotating the strike nicely with Ali, who was shifting through the gears himself, Root and his partner put on 179 before the former was caught and bowled by Umesh Yadav, under some controversy as the bowler threw the ball up in celebration extremely quickly after catching it, with some suggesting he was unlucky to keep the wicket.
Visitors on top after day one
Ben Stokes came in for the last 40 minutes alongside Ali and kept his wicket, whilst Ali ended the day on 99*, and will sleep well safely in the knowledge that he's likely to pick up a century in the morning.
Despite Ali's heroics, the star - for now - is Root, as he extended his fantastic record against India to help England to that score of 311-4 at stumps.
They'll look to build to a score of over 450 on day two, although given some recent England batting collapses, anything is possible.