MANCHESTER: England face the welcome problem of dealing with the consequences of winning ahead of the fourth Test against India at Old Trafford starting on Thursday.
Victory by the huge margin of 266 runs in the third Test at Southampton last week saw England level the five-match series at 1-1.
It also ended a run of 10 Tests without a win for Alastair Cook’s side and saw the captain himself return to form with two fifties, although it could all have been so different had he been caught in the slips on 15 in the first innings.
“Now that everyone knows what it’s like [to win], the challenge is ‘can we repeat that at Old Trafford, and try to win the series?’” said Cook.
While Moeen Ali produced a decisive second-innings return of six for 67 in Southampton to quieten talks regarding his ‘part-time’ off-spin, the performance of England’s back-up seamers in support of Anderson and Stuart Broad was a concern.
An injury to Liam Plunkett, dropped from the third Test team, has seen England recall Steven Finn.
The pitch at Old Trafford is known for being ‘lively’ and all-rounder Chris Jordan, with England having no need of his batting in Southampton after Cook declared twice, could lose his place to Finn after a poor bowling display last time out.
For India, the need to match Ali’s threat could see off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin play his first Test this year in a bid to bolster an attack that looked a bowler ‘light’ at the Ageas Bowl.
“Moeen bowled well [at Southampton] but we let him bowl well,” said India captain MS Dhoni. “It’s important to be positive against spinners.”
In the absence of injured Lord’s star Ishant Sharma, also ruled out of the fourth Test, India lacked pace and a physical threat.
Jharkand fast-bowler Varun Aaron, who played his only Test two years ago, could come into the side although it would be tough on Pankaj Singh were he the bowler to make way.
ICC decides against Anderson appeal
The International Cricket Council (ICC) announced on Wednesday that it will not appeal against the decision to clear England’s James Anderson over claims he pushed and abused India’s Ravindra Jadeja.
Judiciary commissioner Gordon Lewis last week cleared Anderson of breaching the ICC’s code of conduct after he clashed with Jadeja during the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge.
Following a complaint from the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI), the ICC said on Tuesday that it would review Lewis’s decision, but it has decided to accept his findings.
“This outcome is the result of two exhaustive and thorough disciplinary processes and, after considering the written decision, the ICC is satisfied with the manner in which the decisions have been reached,” said ICC chief executive Dave Richardson in a statement.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 7th, 2014.
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