Saturday, 15 December 2012

Where Have You Been, Mr Anderson?

Sehwag, bowled by Anderson for 0
Jimmy Anderson, his potential so warmly described from his earliest days, has often been a recluse in performance throughout the period when the Three Lions have risen, fallen and ascend again now on the second hardest tour in cricket. Like Kevin Pietersen and Graeme Swann and to more disastrous extent, Stuart Broad, Anderson goes missing in action. When away, he still bowls well but just isn't deadly.

When England had been dismissed halfway through this second day for a passable tally made slowly as India's bowlers gave up only a niggardly two an over, India went into bat on a typical sub continent wicket. The bounce was at best half stump high and its pace slow. It should have been all in their favour but Anderson put paid to that. After removing Virender Sehwag second ball with a ripping inswinger which moved so late the batsman missed it on the outside of his bat, he rested whilst the spinners took over. Before tea, Monty Panesar was turning the ball slowly but a long way.

Swann and Panesar wheeled away after tea, but Gautam Gamhir and Chet Pujara defied them with apparent ease in conditions more to their liking rather than earlier bouncy wickets. Swann ended their 58 run stand with a ball which lifted from a previously placid surface and flew from what was taken to be the glove to Ian Bell at short leg. Replays showed the ball coming from his elbow. DRS, not used in India's Tests, would have saved him.

Tendulkar bowled by Anderson for 2
Alastair Cook immediately bought Anderson back to bowl at Tendulkar. For the ninth time in Tests, Anderson claimed him: this time neither back or forward, feet fixed in their stance. His prod got no more than an inside edge and he was bowled by a ball keeping low. Anderson was off to plane the infield. Its a crowing point for Anderson that he has dismissed Tendulkar more often than any other. Two overs later he had Gambhir caught behind driving sloppily at a ball he could have left but even Gambhir runs out of patience.

This four over second spell cost India badly and with Dhoni batting at six and only allrounders left, England's 330 looks more than enough.

Earlier, England's debutante, the fresh faced Yorkshireman with the Blacktown name, Joe Root, completed a patient but classy half century. England may finally have found a number six to train for higher order duties in coming years. Matt Prior and Swann both completed fifties in contrasting styles. Prior was circumspect throughout, in a manner unusual for his normally robust manner but if Pietersen could play with reserve and to the conditions, Prior would not be outdone. Its a South African thing. Swann denied no one their stereotype and was all expansive stroke play. Piyush Chawla claimed most of the spoils but everyone else bowled better than he. Ishant Sharma gave his best display with the ball since the Caribbean tour of last year, constantly troubling the batsmen. Like Anderson, he disappears sometimes but is most effective when the moon is in the seventh house ... Jupiter may please itself.

England well on the way to 3-1 and Tendulkar maybe one innings from retirement.