For the second time in the match England’s bowlers ran through India’s much vaunted batting line up to give the hosts a big win.
Editor’s note: We did intend to include a man of the match feature here, but the mere discussion provoked such angry debate that within seconds the 51allout pavilion was engulfed by the sound of bats bouncing off gloves through windows and the whole idea had to be shelved. As a result, the only option was to return to our tried and tested method.
After his first innings blip, Jimmy Anderson returned to the head of England’s attack and produced a sensational performance to break the back of India’s top order. He began with the removal of the two overnight batsmen before putting himself on the honours board by ending Suresh Raina’s stubborn resistance late on. It has been said many times over the past six months, but Anderson really is a phenomenal bowler nowadays. He no longer relies solely on swing to produce match-changing spells and has developed a consistency which would have been unthinkable to any observer even a couple of years ago.
The overnight partnership looked to be India’s best chance of saving the test, and as such England began the day knowing that getting past the Dravid/Laxman combination early was the key to victory. Within half an hour, Anderson drew ‘The Wall’ into a lazy edge behind and the one man capable of batting all day was gone. After that wickets came at regular intervals, with Raina alone managing to hold England up for any length of time.
England will obviously head to Trent Bridge full of confidence, but must be wary of an Indian backlash. It’s worth remembering that the tourists were without their most dangerous bowler for the vast majority of the game and come Sunday night the treatment room was beginning to resemble the Somme. Of the injured, only Zaheer Khan will struggle to make the second test, and his participation will probably rest on whether the management feels risking him is worth it. In his absence both Praveen Kumar and Ishant Sharma performed admirably, but Harbhajan Singh was a huge disappointment. He must improve next week, particularly if Zaheer fails to recover in time.