By Matt Somerford
James Anderson paid credit to the battling qualities of his fellow bowlers after England were made to toil on the opening day of their Investec series against India.
Anderson has enjoyed some of his best days in an England shirt at Trent Bridge. However, an uncharacteristically slow surface meant England had to exercise patience and planning for relatively slim rewards of four wickets.
India reached the close on 259 for four after their opener Murali Vijay batted through the day for an unbeaten 122.
The tourists, however, needed Vijay to piece together an unbroken 81-run fifth-wicket stand with skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni to ensure they took the honours after winning the toss.
“We are pretty happy with the way things went,” Anderson, who claimed two wickets to become the first bowler to take 50 Test wickets at Trent Bridge, told ecb.co.uk.
“I think the pitch is very flat and there is not a lot of carry in it. We’ve had a few nicks that didn’t quite carry to slip which is frustrating, but I thought we toiled away relentlessly as a bowling attack.
“It’s a very sub-continental style pitch. We set a lot of fields in front of the wicket as you would in India or Sri Lanka. You are trying to use your variations as well and take your pace off the ball - trying to get the ball to reverse-swing.
“We did all of that in stages, but frustratingly we had a few nicks that didn’t carry.
“We had an lbw that on another day could have been given. We’re pretty happy with the day’s work but we are not going to settle on that. We know we have a lot of work to do tomorrow.”
After Anderson struck inside the opening half-hour – provoking an edge from Shikhar Dhawan – England’s best moments arrived immediately after the intervals.
That was never better illustrated than after the lunch when the wickets of arguably India’s most coveted pair, Cheteshwar Pujara and Virat Kohli, were snared inside three overs of the re-start.
After seeing 107 runs leaked, including 18 boundaries, during the opening session, skipper Alastair Cook earned immediate dividends for a change of approach.
Pujara lasted just his second ball of the new session when he was expertly caught by a diving Ian Bell after he was placed halfway down the pitch on the leg side.
Anderson had his second and England were soon celebrating again when Stuart Broad caught Kohli fishing on the back foot.
Bell held the catch at second slip – England’s fine fielding a feature of a difficult day – to leave India 107 for three.
“Cookie came up with some good plans as captain and tried to unsettle them as much as possible and we did our best to try and make breakthroughs,” Anderson said.
“We are going to have to rest well tonight and come back again tomorrow and try and find a way to get six more wickets.”
“(Tomorrow will be a) huge first session. If we can get a couple of wickets early on them you never know we might be able to rattle through their tail.
“We know it’s going to be hard work and a hard slog tomorrow. We’re going to get a good night’s sleep and come back tomorrow.”