England 400 & 31-2 India 279: England turn heat on India

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The Independent Online

Anderson and Jones - it could be the name of your local estate agent or optician. But it is the partnership of James Anderson and Geraint Jones that yesterday provided England with a wonderful opportunity to level the three-Test series against India.

Anderson claimed 4 for 40, his best figures for England in 31 months, and the often-maligned Jones snaffled five excellent catches behind the stumps. It was a combination that allowed England to dismiss India for 279 in their first innings. Aggressive Indian bowling picked up the wickets of Andrew Strauss and Ian Bell before the close, and when stumps were drawn the tourists had extended their lead to 152.

In his previous Test appearance 12 months ago Anderson's bowling was erratic and there were fears that he would never recapture the form that made him one of the most exciting young figures in British sport. His problems have had more to do with his mind than technique. His confidence can be fragile and he has often complicated matters by attempting to bowl magic balls, rather than pitch it consistently in the right area. The scalp of Sachin Tendulkar on Sunday gave Anderson self-belief and it proved that you can get good batsmen out by restricting their scoring opportunities.

Anderson was flown in from the England A tour of the Caribbean when Simon Jones injured his left knee, yet he only became a realistic option when Stephen Harmison withdrew from the Test with a shin complaint. England were hopeful that Harmison would return for the one-day series which follows the third Test, but the plan was abandoned yesterday and the paceman will return home. Matthew Hoggard, who had been eyeing a well-deserved holiday, will replace Harmison.

On another hot morning it was imperative that England struck early. The night's rest allowed England's bowlers to recover from their exertions on the previous day, but it would not have taken long for three consecutive Test matches to catch up with Andrew Flintoff and Hoggard.

The captain gave England an ideal start when he dismissed Yuvraj Singh with the 12th ball of the day. Flintoff has claimed wickets with far better balls but Jones has taken few better catches. The wicket brought Mahendra Singh Dhoni to the crease. Dhoni started the series with a batting average of 47 and the reputation of being one of the most destructive players in Test cricket. England's fast bowlers have controlled the Indian wicketkeeper by bowling short at him, and Flintoff soon resorted to his "bodyline" tactics.

With the field set for a barrage of bouncers, Flintoff struck Dhoni on the head, and it was only after five minutes of treatment that he resumed his guard. Flintoff's strategy was legitimate but such bowling in 38C heat takes its toll. Dhoni survived Flintoff's interrogation but a drive at Anderson gave Monty Panesar a difficult chance at mid-off. The ball was hit low and hard to his left, but it was a catch that an international cricketer should take.

Dhoni is likely to give the occasional chance but Rahul Dravid, who was dropped by Matthew Prior - a substitute fielder - in the gully two balls later, does not. England must have feared the worst after missing two excellent chances to ram home their superiority.

But Dravid had not added to his score when, on the first ball of Anderson's next over, a leg-glance was caught by Jones diving to his left. England were elated with both bowler and wicketkeeper. Anderson had now captured India's two best batsmen, and was bowling like the young man everyone raved about at the 2003 World Cup.

With England's quicker bowlers seeking a well-earned rest Flintoff turned to spin. Dhoni and Irfan Pathan enjoy giving the ball an almighty whack and they resisted temptation well for 40 minutes. But the lure of hitting the ball into the stands eventually proved too strong for Pathan, who dragged Shaun Udal to Hoggard at deepish mid-on.

Dhoni completed a watchful second Test 50 but just as he began to accelerate he attempted a quick single to Anderson at mid-on. Anderson swooped and hit the stumps. It was close, and the umpire, Darrell Hair, asked for the third official to have a look. After watching several replays Krishna Hariharan gave Dhoni out but there is doubt about the decision. Dhoni was out of his ground when the ball kissed the stumps but he was in it when the bails were no longer in contact with the stumps. The laws are vague, stating that a batsman is run out when "his wicket is fairly put down by the opposing side" and it needs clarifying in order to stop future controversy.

Jones took a third superb catch when Harbhajan Singh flirted with an Anderson delivery before a 55-run partnership between Anil Kumble and Shanthakumaran Sreesanth reduced England's lead. Panesar trapped Kumble for 30 and Anderson completed his resurrection when he bowled Munaf Patel.

Scoreboard from Bombay

India won toss; fourth day

England - First Innings 400 (A J Strauss 128, O A Shah 88, A Flintoff 50; S Sreesanth 4-70).

India - First innings

(Overnight: 89 for 3)

*R S Dravid c Jones b Anderson 52

238 min, 155 balls, 6 fours

Yuvraj Singh c Jones b Flintoff 37

88 min, 55 balls, 6 fours

ÝM S Dhoni run out (Anderson TV replay) 64

208 min, 118 balls, 10 fours

I K Pathan c Hoggard b Udal 26

82 min, 82 balls, 2 fours

A Kumble lbw b Panesar 30

123 min, 70 balls, 3 fours

Harbhajan Singh c Jones b Anderson 2

18 min, 12 balls

S Sreesanth not out 29

78 min, 53 balls, 4 fours

M M Patel b Anderson 7

12 min, 8 balls, 1 four

Extras (b4 lb7 nb3) 14

Total (486 min, 104.1 overs) 279

Fall: 1-9 (Sehwag) 2-24 (Jaffer) 3-28 (Tendulkar) 4-94 (Yuvraj Singh) 5-142 (Dravid) 6-186 (Pathan) 7-212 (Dhoni) 8-217 (Harbhajan Singh) 9-272 (Kumble) 10-279 (Patel).

Bowling: Hoggard 22-6-54-2 (nb1) (5-1-13-1, 2-1-1-1, 3-1-2-0, 5-0-19-0, 1-0-4-0, 6-3-15-0); Flintoff 21-4-68-1 (nb2) (5-2-10-0, 2-0-2-0, 6-2-10-1, 3-0-14-0, 2-0-15-0, 3-0-17-0); Anderson 19.1-8-40-4 (6-3-15-1, 6-3-3-1, 5-2-12-1, 2.1-0-10-1); Panesar 26-7-53-1 (7-2-18-0, 15-3-31-0, 4-2-4-1); Udal 16-2-53-1 (2-0-13-0, 2-0-14-0, 12-2-26-1).

Progress: Second day: Tea: 8-0 (Jaffer 3, Sehwag 5) 5 overs. 50: 110 min, 21.5 overs. Close: 89-3 (Dravid 37, Yuvraj Singh 32) 37 overs. Third day: 100: 189 min, 40.5 overs. 150: 281 min, 57.2 overs. Lunch: 153-5 (Dhoni 32, Pathan 7) 61 overs. 200: 374 min, 82.3 overs. New ball taken after 82.5 overs at 200-6. Tea: 217-8 (Kumble 9, Sreesanth 0) 88 overs. 250: in 445 min, 95.4 overs. Innings closed: 4.15pm.

Dravid's 50: 185 min, 133 balls, 6 fours. Dhoni's 50: 174 min, 97 balls, 7 fours.

England - Second Innings

A J Strauss c Dhoni b Patel 4

27 min, 18 balls

I R Bell c Dhoni b Sreesanth 8

48 min, 30 balls

O A Shah not out 15

40 min, 26 balls, 2 fours

S D Udal not out 2

19 min, 17 balls

Extras (w1 nb1) 2

Total (for 2, 68 min, 15 overs) 31

Fall: 1-9 (Strauss), 2-21 (Bell).

To bat: K P Pietersen, P D Collingwood, *A Flintoff, ÝG O Jones, M J Hoggard, J M Anderson, M S Panesar.

Bowling: Pathan 4-1-6-0 (nb1 w1); Patel 4-0-12-1; Sreesanth 4-1-10-1; Kumble 2-0-3-0; Harbhajan Singh 1-1-0-0 (one spell each).

Umpires: D B Hair (Aus) and S J A Taufel (Aus).

TV replay umpire: K Hariharan.

Match referee: R S Madugalle.