India v England: James Anderson helps tourists take control

 

Fourth Test, Nagpur, day two:

England 330 (145.5 overs), India 87-4 (41 overs)

Match scorecard

James Anderson took three wickets to put England in control after day two of the final Test against India in Nagpur.

The paceman bowled both Virender Sehwag (0) and Sachin Tendulkar (2) and had Gautam Gambhir (37) caught behind.

Off-spinner Graeme Swann dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara (26) as India closed on 87-4, still 243 runs behind England, who lead the series 2-1.

Analysis

"I was jumping up and down when Sehwag went, but with Tendulkar, suddenly he can't score a run and the way the press are on his back, you wouldn't think he's scored all these runs. It's not as easy to get your feet moving at 39 - I think that Usain Bolt won't run as fast at 39 as he does now - but he deserves better than that. Someone has to talk to him and suggests he makes a decision, they can't just drop him after all he's done. And Jimmy Anderson was the icing on the cake for England at the end - they've not won it yet, but they're in a great position to win the match."

Joe Root scored a patient 73 and Swann smashed 56 to help England to 330 all out on a slow, low wicket.

Having reached that score from their overnight total of 199-5, England's bowlers were in an ideal position to apply some pressure on the Indian batsmen.

And, like so many other times before in this series, the home side duly crumbled.

The pitch offered little seam, swing or spin for the Indian bowling, but as soon as Anderson got the new ball in his hand he immediately had India in trouble.

First he got one to come back in and bowl Sehwag, then he returned later in the evening session to nip one back into Tendulkar.

Finally, he got one to shape away from Gambhir, who went for an expansive cover drive and got a faint edge behind to Matt Prior.

However Anderson will also be grateful for the intervention of Swann after he broke up a promising 58-run partnership between Gambhir and Pujara to hand England the momentum.

It was a superb, diving catch by Ian Bell that brought about the end of Pujara's innings, but the batsman will be disappointed after replays showed the ball may not have hit his glove on the way to short leg.

Swann's wicket capped a superb individual day for the off-spinner, who scored his first Test half-century since 2009 in typically belligerent style.

He came to the crease after Prior had played down the wrong line to Ravichandran Ashwin - the wicketkeeper being bowled for a valuable 57 to end a potentially match-changing 103-run partnership with debutant Root - and Tim Bresnan was pinned in front by Ishant Sharma for a second-ball duck.

Rock-solid Root

  • Joe Root's knock was the longest debut innings for an England player since Roger Tolchard against India at Eden Gardens in 1976-77
  • The last five England batsmen to score 50 in maiden innings before Root were Kevin Pietersen (2005) Alastair Cook (2006), Owais Shah (2006), Matt Prior (2007) and Tim Ambrose (2008).

Root continued where he left off on the first day, as he showed a solid defence while keeping the scoreboard moving. He looked assured and confident from the first ball of the day and his gritty knock was complemented by Swann's strokeplay - the Nottinghamshire man hitting six fours and two sixes in his breezy innings.

Root was eventually out to a leading edge, caught and bowled by leg-spinner Piyush Chawla, while Swann was trapped in front while sweeping as he attempted to plunder some late runs.

Anderson made just four before he also fell victim to Chawla (4-69), but it was the Lancashire man's bowling which changed the complexion of the match and tipped it in favour of England.

Virat Kohli and MS Dhoni remained unbeaten at the close of play, but they have plenty to do to help deny England a first Test series victory in India since 1984-85.