Anderson and Panesar put England in control in third Test

2012-12-06 00:00

KOLKATA — James Anderson and Monty Panesar led the way as England reduced India to 273 for seven on day one of the third Test yesterday in Kolkata.

Having lost the toss, Alastair Cook’s men responded well in the field, with Panesar taking two early wickets before Anderson prised out three, including that of Sachin Tendulkar, who top-scored with 76.

There were no surprises in England’s line-up, with fit-again Steven Finn replacing out-of-sorts Stuart Broad and Ian Bell returning to the team in place of Jonny Bairstow.

India dropped spinner Harbhajan Singh just one Test after his recall in favour of seamer Ishant Sharma.

The expectation was of a wicket which would be ideal for batting for at least the first three days, and when India saw off the early overs without incident they looked on track for a big score.

Virender Sehwag and Gautam Gambhir threw it away, however, with a horrible miscommunication accounting for the wicket of Sehwag — he looked for an easy third run after a clip to midwicket, only for Gambhir to stay perfectly still and leave his partner stranded on 23.

Cheteshwar Pujara was then deceived by an arm ball from Panesar and bowled shortly before lunch, having eased to 16, bringing Tendulkar to the crease for a jittery few minutes before the interval.

He survived that, but in the afternoon he struggled to get going once more. Panesar afforded him little he could attack, while Anderson and Finn began to get some reverse swing.

The wickets fell at the other end, however. Gambhir, who had become steadily more fluent as he reached 60, went after cutting a Panesar delivery straight to Jonathan Trott at slip, before Anderson drew an edge from Virat Kohli (six).

After tea, Yuvraj Singh’s attacking intent seemed to give Tendulkar some freedom, and he reached his 66th Test half-century with the first ball after tea, finding something nearer to his best form.

But Graeme Swann accounted for Yuvraj on 32 when the left-hander lofted a catch to the man at short extra cover, and Tendulkar fell to Anderson for the eighth time in his career (only Muttiah Muralitharan has managed to dismiss the Little Master as many times in Test cricket), edging behind where Matt Prior took an excellent one-handed catch.

Anderson finished off a good day for the visitors by clean-bowling the dangerous Ravichandran Ashwin in the penultimate over of the day.

Much will depend on how quickly the tourists can dislodge MS Dhoni and the India tail on day two, but their efforts on day one have given them a chance of carving out a first-innings lead.

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