England’s fast-bowler James Anderson finally came good on subcontinent pitches as his late, three-wicket effort with the old ball helped the tourists restrict India to 273 for seven at close on the opening day one of the third Test at Eden Gardens in Kolkata yesterday.
Anderson was happy to bowl on a surface that finally had something on offer for quickies.
“I felt like it was a pretty good pitch to bowl on,” said Anderson. “If you bend your back, you got a bit out of it as it reverse-swung for us as well. Taking seven wickets and keeping them to less than three an over is a pretty good effort from us (particularly after) losing the toss again.
“We also expected a pretty good batting pitch.”
Earlier, MS Dhoni opted to bat first given India’s track record of scoring big at the venue – the home side has amassed 600-plus scores in the first-innings in each of their three previous Kolkata Tests. However, his team did not get off to best of starts as Virender Sehwag (23) was run out after being involved in a mix up with Gautam Gambhir.
Cheteshwar Pujara, who has been in sublime form and has been touted as the new ‘wall’, was cleaned up early by a Panesar arm-ball on 18.
Tendulkar finally delivers
Meanwhile,Sachin Tendulkar, who has been facing questions over his career especially after Ricky Ponting’s recent retirement, managed to shrug off a poor run with a solid 76-run knock off 155 balls.
He did strike 13 fours but remained far from convincing early on, missing flicks and drives that he would have normally dispatched to the fence with utmost ease.
Tendulkar was involved in a 69-run fifth-wicket stand with Yuvraj Singh, who made 32 before failing once again to play a big innings in longest format of the game. Tendulkar was finally dimissed by Anderson, who also had the measure of Virat Kohli (six) earlier as well as Ravichandaran Ashwin (21). Skipper Dhoni ended the day unbeaten on 22 while Zaheer Khan was yet to open his account as he survived eight balls at the close of play.
Anderson, though, felt that it was too early to say whether the pitch would be easier to bat on in the next two days.
“We’ll wait and see - it’s hard to judge a pitch after one day. It is a decent pitch but we will be looking to bowl them out early tomorrow and make some runs in our first innings.”
“It was a pretty good pitch to bowl on. If you bend your back, you got a bit out of it as it reverse-swung for us as well. Taking seven wickets and keeping them to less than three an over is a pretty good effort from us.”
Published in The Express Tribune, December 6th, 2012.
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