England v India fourth Test: England to make hay having turned summer around

No changes expected as Cook’s side seek to build on resounding Test win

old trafford

There is the sense that the slate is clean at last. England, under their new management, have won a Test match after almost a year and the disciplinary issues which have dogged them for the last month were finally buried here.

The team can take the field with a spring in their step for the penultimate match in an absorbing series against India. The travails of the early season, when they lost to Sri Lanka in all three formats with their senior players still reeling from their mauling in Australia during the winter, their junior ranks performing adequately but wondering what was happening, have been vanquished.

One win does not perhaps make everything hunky-dory again, but it is like the relationship of money to happiness: it certainly helps. England were wondering where their next victory was coming from and the relief from Peter Moores, the coach, and Paul Downton, the managing director, was palpable.

The manner of their  266-run triumph at Southampton to level matters at 1-1 was as important as the victory itself. They won all 13 sessions, their captain, Alastair Cook, made runs again, they had the rub of the green and made the most of it.

India can hardly believe what has occurred. In a trice the summer seems to have been turned on its head. Their impressive win at Lord’s when they outplayed their hosts at their own game has been overtaken by subsequent events. At Southampton, the tourists’ threat was nullified partly because it somehow never existed.

After the ruling of the International Cricket Council and some timely comments about language, it seems certain that both sides will be on their best behaviour. That applies particularly to Jimmy Anderson, from whom much will be expected.

 

His exemplary performance in the third Test was slightly overshadowed by the disciplinary charge still hanging over him. That was dealt with when the ICC declined to appeal over the not guilty verdict of the judicial commissioner, who did not have enough substantive evidence to convict Anderson of any breach of the ICC code of conduct for his clash with Ravindra Jadeja in the opening Test at Trent Bridge a month ago.

Anderson seems to have the need to behave aggressively, nay abhorrently to opponents to achieve peak performance. But in doing so he and England are at risk of becoming deeply unpopular. There is a balance to be struck and Anderson’s legacy will be the richer if he can find it.

Jimmy Anderson has the England Test wickets record of Ian Botham in his sights Jimmy Anderson has the England Test wickets record of Ian Botham, above, in his sights (Getty)
His bowling was beautiful once more last week and if there is a hint of swing at his home ground, India will be in big trouble. Cook said that Anderson was the best England bowler he had seen by a considerable margin. It is theoretically possible at least that he could overtake Sir Ian Botham’s record Test wicket haul for England. Botham has 383 wickets, Anderson is on 371.

It is probable that Anderson will bowl from the Brian Statham End. Statham, who took 252 Test wickets and briefly held the world record, was Lancashire’s first great fast bowler. Anderson might care to dwell briefly on the way that Statham played the game.

Reserved to the point of taciturnity off the field, he said no more on it, simply letting his metronomically accurate bowling do all the talking. Everything else was a waste of energy. Statham simply wanted to do his day’s work, then have a few pints and a few fags. His mantra was simple: “If they miss, I hit.”

Both sides have contemplated changes. England seem as if they will err on the side of retaining a winning team. Chris Jordan’s place was under threat from Steve Finn but they look prepared to offer him another opportunity,  perhaps persuaded by Jordan’s 5 for 29 in a one-day international at Old Trafford in May. But he will have  to improve on his form in Southampton.

India may bring in three different players and field five specialist bowlers in an attempt to find the key to unlocking 20 England wickets. Ravichandran Ashwin will come in as the second spinner, Varun Aaron, the fastest bowler in their squad, will probably play his second Test in place of Pankaj Singh, who made his debut at Southampton, and the veteran opener Gautam Gambhir will return after almost two years out of the side for Shikhar Dhawan at the top of the order. It is a gamble but so salutary was what happened last week that India see it as utterly necessary.

It is expected that the Old Trafford pitch will be quicker than anything so far seen in Tests this summer. This does not mean it will be lightning fast but increased pace and bounce will be in England’s favour.

England have been desperately trying to keep their feet on the ground, keen to assure everybody that there is work still to do. But Cook’s return to form alone has relaxed all connected with the dressing room.

The captain himself conceded that it was easier to give team talks now he has made runs again. He said: “That’s always a hard thing for any captain when he’s out of form. You’re telling the guys what to do and you’re not backing up your own words. Two innings don’t change it too much but you’re right, it does make it easier.”

Apart from anything else, the team’s young players, who must have heard so much and watched from afar Cook’s appetite for runs, can now begin to see what all the fuss was about. England are suddenly in that place where they know how to win. They will be eager to stay there.

Fourth Test details

Probable teams:

England A N Cook (capt), S D Robson, G S Ballance, I R Bell, J E Root, M M Ali, J C Buttler (w/k),  C R Woakes, C J Jordan,  S C J Broad, J M Anderson.

India M S Dhoni (capt; w/k),  M Vijay, G Gambhir, C A Pujara, V Kohli, A M Rahane, R Ashwin, R A Jadeja, B Kumar, M Shami, V R Aaron.

Umpires R Tucker (Aus) & M Erasmus (SA)

Old Trafford pitch report It changed colour before the eyes as it was mowed yesterday. Everyone expects it to offer some pace and carry and it may turn as the match goes on.

Television Sky Sports 2, 10am-7pm. Highlights: Channel 5, 7-8pm.

Weather Warm with some cloud, becoming sunnier in the afternoon. Maximum temperature: 20C.

Odds to win Test Eng 9-5 India 5-1; Draw 11-10

Series details Level at 1-1.

First Test (Trent Bridge) Match drawn

Second Test (Lord’s) India won by 95 runs

Third Test (Ageas Bowl) England won by 266 runs

Fifth Test (The Kia Oval) 15-19 August

Flower guides England Lions to victory over Sri Lanka A

Former England team director Andy Flower has returned to the England coaching front-line, albeit in charge of the second-string Lions team.

Flower, who stood down from the top job after the Ashes whitewash in the winter, stayed in the set-up as technical director of elite coaching and today he guided the Lions to an impressive victory over Sri Lanka A at Taunton.

The hosts won by 51 runs after amassing 339 for 5 off 50 overs, Alex Hales opening with 101 while Ravi Bopara contributed 74, Jason Roy 51 and Jonny Bairstow 50 not out.

Sri Lanka A were bowled out for 288 with Middlesex spinner Ravi Patel picking up 3 for 71.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

No postcode? No vote

Floating voters

How living on a houseboat meant I didn't officially 'exist'
Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin

By Reason of Insanity

Louis Theroux's affable Englishman routine begins to wear thin
Power dressing is back – but no shoulderpads!

Power dressing is back

But banish all thoughts of Eighties shoulderpads
Spanish stone-age cave paintings 'under threat' after being re-opened to the public

Spanish stone-age cave paintings in Altamira 'under threat'

Caves were re-opened to the public
'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'

Vince Cable interview

'I was the bookies’ favourite to be first to leave the Cabinet'
Election 2015: How many of the Government's coalition agreement promises have been kept?

Promises, promises

But how many coalition agreement pledges have been kept?
The Gaza fisherman who built his own reef - and was shot dead there by an Israeli gunboat

The death of a Gaza fisherman

He built his own reef, and was fatally shot there by an Israeli gunboat
Saudi Arabia's airstrikes in Yemen are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Saudi airstrikes are fuelling the Gulf's fire

Arab intervention in Yemen risks entrenching Sunni-Shia divide and handing a victory to Isis, says Patrick Cockburn
Zayn Malik's departure from One Direction shows the perils of fame in the age of social media

The only direction Zayn could go

We wince at the anguish of One Direction's fans, but Malik's departure shows the perils of fame in the age of social media
Young Magician of the Year 2015: Meet the schoolgirl from Newcastle who has her heart set on being the competition's first female winner

Spells like teen spirit

A 16-year-old from Newcastle has set her heart on being the first female to win Young Magician of the Year. Jonathan Owen meets her
Jonathan Anderson: If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

If fashion is a cycle, this young man knows just how to ride it

British designer Jonathan Anderson is putting his stamp on venerable house Loewe
Number plates scheme could provide a licence to offend in the land of the free

Licence to offend in the land of the free

Cash-strapped states have hit on a way of making money out of drivers that may be in collision with the First Amendment, says Rupert Cornwell
From farm to fork: Meet the Cornish fishermen, vegetable-growers and butchers causing a stir in London's top restaurants

From farm to fork in Cornwall

One man is bringing together Cornwall's most accomplished growers, fishermen and butchers with London's best chefs to put the finest, freshest produce on the plates of some of the country’s best restaurants
Robert Parker interview: The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes

Robert Parker interview

The world's top wine critic on tasting 10,000 bottles a year, absurd drinking notes and New World wannabes
Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

Don't believe the stereotype - or should you?

We exaggerate regional traits and turn them into jokes - and those on the receiving end are in on it too, says DJ Taylor