England v India: For the good of the series, just shake on it and forget the spat

It has been a great battle between two well-matched teams, but in the probable absence of any handshaking the mutual antipathy is likely to continue this week
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The Independent Online

What should happen next is Jimmy Anderson and Ravindra Jadeja shaking hands and promising to be good boys. Neither has emerged with much dignity from the spat at Trent Bridge which has besmirched the series between England and India.

They were both found not guilty of any breach of the ICC Code of Conduct at a costly hearing last Friday, which amounted to an unnecessary legal circus. India are reported to be staggered at the verdict on Anderson, whom they had cited under a serious Level Three charge, which could have brought a four-match ban, and now find themselves totally rebuffed.

If they have the good of the game and this compelling series at heart they will forget the whole darn thing and concentrate on trying to stop England's renewed charge, which has seen the series being levelled at 1-1 with two to play.

As for England, vindicated by the findings of the ICC judicial commissioner, Judge Gordon Lewis, they might try to avoid being smug and remember their responsibilities. Anderson might have been exonerated but his irascible approach to the game has left something to be desired for a while. His bowling returned to its glorious peak last week in Southampton, where he took seven wickets and was man of the match, but he has not conveyed the impression of enjoying it much for some time.

He is always on someone's case. What was once an endearing grumpiness, part of the fast bowler's burden, has become an alienating scowl. It is game rage.

This series between two well-matched teams trying to find the right direction is riveting. The Fourth Investec Test begins at Old Trafford on Thursday. In the probable absence of any handshaking the mutual antipathy is likely to continue.

Unattractive though it is, it may enhance the proceedings. England and their captain, Alastair Cook, have a spring in their step after a performance last week which was as accomplished as any they have achieved under his stewardship.

Had Cook been caught when he was 15 on the first morning it might have all been different. But that is the beauty of the game. Suddenly, England have both their veterans and their novices in form. Their part-time apprentice spinner, Moeen Ali, is being made to look like a world-beater, their new wicketkeeper, Jos Buttler, had a dream debut and Cook has the security of runs behind him again.

India are looking much less certain. Their batting is fragile and England will bombard them at Manchester if there is life in the pitch, their bowling lacks penetration because it lacks consistency, their catching has been demoralising for them. After managing such a well-rounded display only a week after such a wretched defeat at Lord's, England will be tempted to stick with an unchanged XI. But the presence in their squad of Liam Plunkett, the fastest man on either side, should win him selection ahead of Chris Jordan, who is out of form.

The tourists will presumably have to make changes, and the most likely casualty is the absolved Jadeja, whose defensive left-arm spin may be supplanted by R Ashwin's fast off-breaks.

It reduces the potential for friction.