Having missed the first two Tests due to a freak wrist injury, the stylish right-hander's driving was elegance personified as he hit 10 boundaries in his 53 off 84 balls, but Ravichandran Ashwin (6-2-10-1) and Axar Patel (12-2-29-2) controlled the narrative on a pitch that is proving to be a spinner's paradise.
Playing his landmark 100th Test, Ishant Sharma couldn't have hoped for a better start when he got a delivery to hold its line and bounce a shade extra, which Dom Sibley (0) edged to Rohit Sharma at second slip.
Axar, brought in as early as the seventh over, struck with a delivery that came in with the arm and Jonny Bairstow (0) was adjudged leg before, leaving England at 27 for 2.
However, Crawley was in no mood to play the defensive game and made most of what always is the best session for batting in a pink ball Test.
The deliveries from Ishant (5-1-26-1) and Bumrah (5-3-13-0) that tailed in were driven in the arc between mid-wicket and mid-on while the power in his cover drives was felt by every blade of grass on a fast Motera outfield.
Against Axar, Crawley would either put in a big stride forward to drive him through covers or rock back and punch him between point and cover region.
With the pitch offering turn and bounce in the first session itself, Crawley understood that hanging around wasn't the best option and decided to go on an offensive from the word go.
His half-century had 10 boundaries and came off 68 balls as skipper Joe Root (17) looked solid at the other end, having driven Ishant straight back for a boundary.
However, Ashwin, who straightaway got the ball to dip had both the batsmen in trouble. While Crawley survived a contentious Umpires'' Call, Root got one that turned a shade as the England skipper committed himself on the front foot.
He was adjudged leg before and just like Bairstow, Root also wasted a DRS with the visitors having only one left after only 27 overs.
Crawley, who had tried the reverse sweep without much success was accounted for by Axar when he played for the away turn but it came on with the arm to make it an easy leg before decision for umpire Nitin Menon.