England v India: James Anderson is one of England's best ever

England have seized the initiative in the fourth Test by being more positive and assertive than India.

Led by Matt Prior, Joe Root and Graeme Swann on the second day, they posted a decent score on a tough wicket and then their bowlers took charge.

The way James Anderson bowled was quite brilliant and I cannot think of a better England bowler in my time than the Lancashire paceman.

He is taking wickets in conditions that don't really suit him and he really is a special bowler these days.

England's top Test wicket-takers

  • Ian Botham - wickets: 383, average 28.40
  • Bob Willis - wickets: 325, average 25.20
  • Fred Trueman - wickets: 307, average 21.57
  • Derek Underwood - wickets: 297, average 25.83
  • James Anderson - wickets: 287, average 30.30

England will have been worried about what Virender Sehwag would do on this pitch, but Anderson got him second ball and then he got one to swing back into Sachin Tendulkar.

Anderson started to get reverse swing as the ball got older and Gautam Gambhir did not know what was coming next when he edged an outswinger to Matt Prior.

I mentioned in my Test Match Special commentary that there is a bit of Malcolm Marshall about the way Anderson bowls - not in the pace he generates, but the way he seemingly has the ball on a string and can make it do whatever he wants.

He has an aura about him and I cannot place much higher praise on him. He needs to be protected now, and not be made to bowl too many overs, because he is crucial to England's bowling attack and he has a lot of work to do in the next year when the team plays 10 Ashes Tests against Australia.

Analysis

"Anderson has such ability to move the ball in the air when no-one else can do, he is like gold dust. He's like Richard Hadlee, who was a wonderful swinger of the ball."

Another thing I noticed was the way Anderson made a bee-line for Kevin Pietersen after he had bowled Sehwag. There was talk of those two not getting along last summer, but I reckon Pietersen, who plays for the same IPL team as Sehwag, suggested that delivery to Anderson and the bowler executed the plan to perfection.

India have a lot to do in the match now, and that is also due to England's solid batting which continued into the second day.

Root was magnificent on his debut, a model of patience and good technique and I like the way he seemed unruffled by everything that went on around him. He celebrated a little when he reached his half-century and then knuckled down to carry on his job.

Prior played well too and Swann could not have timed his first half-century since 2009 much better. He showed that if you play positively you can score runs on this pitch.

Finally, I wonder if this will be Sachin Tendulkar's final match. His footwork was all over the place for his dismissal - he looked late and slow.

He left the field to silence and it had the feel of somebody playing in his final match. Only time will tell.