Anderson excels on England's day
James Anderson led the way as England’s bowlers responded impressively to another lost toss on day one of the third Test with India at Eden Gardens.
At a venue synonymous with substantial first-innings totals - India have declared with more than 600 on the board in each of their previous three Test visits - the hosts could only muster 273 for seven after electing to bat for a third match in succession.
Although Virender Sehwag handed Alastair Cook’s side an early boost by being run out for 23, England’s subsequent success came as a result of disciplined bowling in conditions that offered little encouragement to spin or seam bowlers.
Gautam Gambhir and Sachin Tendulkar overcame shaky starts to contribute 60 and 76 respectively, the latter bringing an end to his woeful run of international form, but India were hampered by the loss of wickets at regular intervals.
Undeterred by the lack of pace and bounce provided by a used pitch, Anderson emerged as the standout performer of the day and was in no way flattered by figures of 3-68 from 21 overs.
Monty Panesar also impressed as he followed up his stunning 11-wicket haul in Mumbai, where England levelled the four-match series at 1-1, with two further scalps on an encouraging day for the tourists.
India’s first setback, however, was very much self-inflicted. Having trotted halfway down the pitch in search of a third run to deep midwicket, Sehwag was sent back by Gambhir and did not come close to making his ground following good work in the outfield from Samit Patel and the fit-again Steven Finn, who returned to England’s team together with Ian Bell.
Panesar once again coped admirably with a heavy workload, sending down 35 overs at the cost of 74 runs following his introduction inside the opening hour.
The left-arm spinner was responsible for the next two breakthroughs as he deceived Cheteshwar Pujara with an arm ball before having Gambhir, who scored the bulk of his runs through the off side, well caught at slip by Jonathan Trott.
Anderson was then rewarded for a stunning afternoon spell with the wicket of Virat Kohli, who edged to second slip, and India were grateful for a restorative partnership of 78 between Tendulkar and Yuvraj Singh either side of tea.
Yet just as England appeared to be in danger of ceding their advantage, Yuvraj threw his wicket away on 32 with a lazy chip to short cover off Graeme Swann.
The prized wicket of Tendulkar fell soon after, Matt Prior holding on to a fine one-handed catch when the Little Master nibbled at a length delivery from Anderson immediately after the day’s final drinks break.
Having gained assistance through the air with the older ball, Anderson then made an impact with the second new cherry as he bowled Ravichandran Ashwin through the gate in the day's penultimate over.
Home skipper Mahendra Singh Dhoni remained unbeaten on 22, but Cook will have undoubtedly left the field as the happier captain.
Live Text Commentary
10:45am - STUMPS - Ind 273/7; Dhoni 22, Zaheer 0 - Dhoni and Zaheer Khan see out the final over, but that has to go down as England’s day. The tourists will be delighted to have picked up seven wickets on such a benign surface.
10:38am - WICKET! Ashwin b Anderson 21; Ind 268/7 - Ashwin clips Anderson through midwicket for four, but is then bowled through the gate! That caps a wonderful performance from the leader of England’s attack!
10:35am - With four overs to come, England take the second new ball. Finn and Panesar are unable to make a breakthrough, so Alastair Cook opts to give Anderson one more crack.
10:23am – Finn peppers Ashwin with a series of short deliveries, but the number eight survives. Dhoni, meanwhile, is now operating somewhat more sensibly following his frenetic start.
10:09am - Anderson may have been the pick of the attack, but Finn can consider himself unfortunate not to have picked up at least one wicket. After missing the first two Tests due to a thigh strain he has looked fit and strong in sending down 17 overs so far. Dhoni and Ashwin remain at the crease and will be desperate to see out the rest of the day.
9:58am - With the old ball swinging appreciably, Anderson gets one to do too much and is therefore unsuccessful with an lbw shout against Ashwin, who responds with a confident drive past point for four. There are 11 overs remaining this evening.
9:54am - Anderson has now taken Tendulkar’s wicket on eight occasions in Tests, a feat matched only by legendary former Sri Lanka spinner Muttiah Muralitharan. Both Anderson and Panesar have done a fine job today and England now have a chance of wrapping up India’s first innings before stumps. That said, Ashwin can certainly hang around, as he showed in Mumbai.
9:42am - MISSED CHANCE - India almost lose another wicket as Finn misses a golden opportunity to run out Ravichandran Ashwin. The new batsman was stuck at the non-striker’s end as Dhoni dashed through for a single to mid-off, but Finn failed to gather the ball cleanly when a dismissal appeared imminent.
9:38am – WICKET! Tendulkar c Prior b Anderson 76; Ind 230/6 - There’s the wicket England wanted! Anderson strikes immediately after the break, with Matt Prior taking a fine one-handed catch to account for Tendulkar, who nibbled at a length delivery.
9:33am - My oh my, that’s simply glorious from Tendulkar. His early struggles appear a distant memory as Panesar is dispatched to the cover fence with ease. Time for another drink and this game is intriguingly poised at present with India 230 for five.
9:28am – I’m struggling to get my head around Dhoni’s approach here. He really needs to dig in, but seems intent on taking the attack to England. After failing to connect with an adventurous thrash at James Anderson, he then makes sweet contact with a wristy cut to the cover fence.
9:14am - Mahendra Singh Dhoni comes charging down the pitch to Swann first ball and is fortunate to get away with an ugly swipe into the leg side. The ball almost carried to Samit Patel at midwicket. Is India’s skipper feeling the pressure I wonder?
9:10am - WICKET! Yuvraj c Cook b Swann 32; Ind 215/5 - If Yuvraj was frustrated a moment ago he will be seething now. Seemingly keen to lift the tempo, he departs in tame fashion when punching a back-foot stroke straight to England’s captain at short cover. Just when India looked to be gaining momentum, their number six has thrown his wicket away.
9:09am - Yuvraj and Tendulkar pull and sweep for respective fours in an expensive over from Swann. Although runs are currently flowing freely, Yuvraj appears a little impatient and berates himself after twice picking out the man at cover.
9:03am - There has not been too much to excite England since tea, but a wicket now would represent a significant blow to the hosts. Graeme Swann and Panesar are operating in tandem once again and the latter was briefly interested as Tendulkar drove uppishly towards cover, only for the ball to drop short of the fielder.
8:54am – Tendulkar takes India past 200 with a leg-glance off Panesar, having collected four leg byes earlier in the over.
8:44am - India are seeking to regain the initiative here and Yuvraj Singh clubs Monty Panesar down the ground for six. That was a very clean stroke. Worryingly for England, Tendulkar is looking much more like his old self now.
8:33am - FIFTY! Tendulkar (99b 9x4 0x6) - Sachin Tendulkar flicks the first ball of the evening, from Steven Finn, down to fine-leg to reach 50. The next delivery is then flayed over backward point for another four. A lively start to affairs after tea!
8:12am - TEA - Ind 172/4; Tendulkar 46, Yuvraj 14 - Finn collides with the stumps at the non-striker’s end for the first and hopefully last time today. Yuvraj then finishes the afternoon session on a high by cracking Swann through the covers for four. An excellent overall performance from England in that session, but they will want to see the back of Tendulkar as soon as possible.
8:05am - It appears Tendulkar may just be settling in. A delicate swept four off Swann takes him to 42 and he then picks up four more, albeit in less convincing fashion with an edge down to third man.
8:02am – Finn is back for another burst in place of Anderson. I certainly did not expect the seamers to be used so frequently today, but both of England’s pacemen have posed a real threat this afternoon. Yuvraj appears less than assured as he plays and misses on two occasions.
7:53am - Another scare for Yuvraj as Swann strikes the left-hander on the front pad. Successive drives for four, through point and down the ground, should settle the new batsman down. Tendulkar then collects back-to-back fours behind square on the off side. The second certainly appeared more intentional than the first, which came as the result of a thick edge.
7:42am - England really have been exceptional since lunch. On a flat pitch, India have found themselves under relentless pressure. Yuvraj Singh survives a big lbw shout from Anderson, who is now finding reverse-swing on a regular basis. That looked pretty good to me, but the umpire may feel Yuvi got outside the line of off stump.
7:32am – WICKET! Kohli c Swann b Anderson 6; Ind 136/4 – Things just keep getting better for England! Anderson has bowled superbly since drinks and gets his reward when Kohli, moments after driving confidently down the ground for four, nicks off to second slip.
7:26am - Anderson bends his back and sends down a superb short ball. There was an appeal for caught-behind, but umpire Rod Tucker correctly adjudged that the ball had brushed Tendulkar's body rather than bat or glove. An outside edge from the next delivery then drops agonisingly short of Graeme Swann at second slip. Tendulkar looks anything but assured right now.
7:21am - Virat Kohli almost plays on when facing the returning Anderson, who induced a thick inside-edge onto boot. You feel this partnership - between India’s greatest batsman and their brightest young star - could well be crucial. Runs have proven harder to come by as the ball has softened.
7:11am – Finn is really showing the value of extra pace here; he strikes Tendulkar on the arm with a vicious bouncer before the immaculate Panesar gets one to rip past the outside edge. Drinks are subsequently taken and England will be delighted with their post-lunch efforts.
7am - WICKET! Gambhir c Trott b Panesar 60; Ind 117/3 - Oh yes, Monty strikes again! Gambhir looks to cut, but is surprised by some rare bounce and offers a sharp chance to Jonathan Trott at slip that is gratefully accepted!
6:58am – Tendulkar collects four through fine-leg off Finn, but there is encouragement for England as the next ball shapes in appreciably. Another boundary follows as a diving Anderson fails to prevent the ball from reaching the rope at long-on.
6:53am - The giant Finn is doing his best to get some life out of this pitch, but even he is struggling to extract a great deal of bounce. Gambhir deliberately steers one down to third man for four, illustrating the time available to batsmen. There is a slip, gully and short-leg in place for Panesar to Tendulkar, but the veteran is up to the challenge.
6:45am - After testing Tendulkar with a couple of short deliveries, Steven Finn beats Gambhir’s outside edge with a gorgeous back-of-a-length delivery from round the wicket. Sachin is certainly in no rush; he defends watchfully against Panesar and we have had just 13 runs in nine overs since lunch.
6:38am - Gambhir has scored the bulk of his runs through the off side and that trend continues as he leans into a glorious drive off Anderson. Tendulkar then edges Panesar past slip for four to bring up India’s 100. Progress remains slow thereafter.
6:21am – Another accurate over, this time from James Anderson to Gautam Gambhir, keeps India waiting for their first run of the session, but Tendulkar then sneaks a single off Panesar to get the score moving again. England’s left-arm spinner had the better of the Little Master in Mumbai. Can he win the battle again today?
6:13am - Play resumes at Eden Gardens, with Monty Panesar continuing from the Pavilion End. Sachin Tendulkar plays out a maiden.
5:31am – LUNCH - Ind 90/2; Gambhir 50, Tendulkar 1 - The great Sachin Tendulkar has struggled for runs recently and there are definite signs of nerves as he drives unconvincingly against Panesar. Anderson is brought back for a solitary over before lunch and maintains a good line to Gambhir from around the wicket. England can be content with their returns in that session.
5:22am - FIFTY! Gambhir (81b 10x4 0x6) - Gambhir brings up his 21st Test fifty, in addition to nine tons, with a quick single to mid-off. Hang on, what’s happened here? England appeal for a catch when the ball deflects off short-leg into Prior’s gloves. However, Gambhir has nothing to worry about as replays show the ball bounced before striking the fielder.
5:15am - WICKET! Pujara b Panesar 16; Ind 88/2 - A nudge around the corner off Swann takes Gambhir to 49, but there’s a big breakthrough for England in the next over as Panesar follows up three slow, looping deliveries by defeating Pujara in the flight with an arm ball. A tremendous celebration follows, with Monty breaking into a dance of delight! Here’s Sachin...
5:10am - Graeme Swann is into the attack alongside Panesar and can expect to bowl plenty of overs here, with so little movement on offer for the quicks. Not too much happening at the moment and both Gambhir and Pujara look comfortable.
4:59am - Panesar appeals excitedly for lbw against Pujara, but that did not do nearly enough and would have missed leg. Another effortless push past mid-on brings Pujara four more before Gambhir punishes Finn for over-pitching with a well-timed cover-drive. I really cannot overstate just how little pace there has been in this surface, although the outfield appears quick enough.
4:51am - I can’t say I have been overly impressed with Gambhir’s footwork thus far, but he continues to defy England and slashes Finn past gully for a seventh boundary. Pujara looks far more impressive when advancing to clip Panesar through midwicket, although the bowler responds well by getting one to grip and take the shoulder of the bat. India’s number three is then beaten outside off.
4:40am - No real spin for Panesar as yet, with the left-armer opting to push the ball through quickly. Finn returns from the High Court End following the drinks break and delivers a maiden to Gambhir. England appear keen to bowl as straight as possible, which would seem wise given the occasional uneven bounce already in evidence.
4:28am - Cheteshwar Pujara is the new man at the crease and defends solidly against Anderson. England’s most experienced seamer has worked hard in this opening spell, yet concedes a fourth four when Gambhir guides a full ball to the right of point.
4:16am - WICKET! Sehwag run out 23; Ind 47/1 - Farcical scenes out in the middle, but England will not mind one bit. This is a huge bonus. Sehwag is run out following an awful mix-up with Gambhir, who sent his partner back when a third run to deep midwicket appeared to be there for the taking. Samit Patel and Finn combined well to get the ball back to Matt Prior in swift fashion, but that really was a disastrous piece of running!
4:14am - England bring Pietersen up at gully after Sehwag collects a third four through that region with another somewhat loose stroke. Gambhir does not look comfortable against Anderson, but then advances to loft Panesar over mid-on.
4:06am - With conditions hardly favouring the seamers, Alastair Cook wastes little time in turning to Monty Panesar, who will be high on confidence after claiming 11 wickets in Mumbai. Gambhir rocks back to punch through the off side for four in the spinner’s first over.
4:02am – Goodness me! An innocuous ball outside off stump from Anderson barely gets above ankle height; so much for the suggestion that there would be pace and bounce in this pitch! Gambhir is guilty of a lapse in concentration as he plays and misses once again, while Sehwag is lucky to see a thick outside edge fly away for four. The fielder at gully - Kevin Pietersen - is quite deep and may have been in with a shout had he been five yards closer to the bat.
3:49am - That’s nice from Anderson, who beats Gambhir with successive deliveries from over the wicket before the batsman responds by driving confidently through the covers. In Finn’s next over, Sehwag collects his first boundary with an open-faced glide to the right of gully. India will certainly be happy to have won the toss, as this looks to be a flat track.
3:40am - Steven Finn starts with a full toss that is clipped to the fine-leg boundary by Gambhir. The left-handed opener then picks up four more in fortuitous fashion with an edge that goes to ground quickly and squirts between third slip and gully. Not too much bounce in evidence there! Finn thinks he has Virender Sehwag caught behind later in the over, but replays suggest the bat clipped the front pad rather than the ball.
3:34am – There is plenty of early-morning mist around in Kolkata as play begins. James Anderson’s opening over is uneventful, with a single from Gautam Gambhir getting India off the mark. In case you were wondering, Matt Prior is England’s vice-captain in this game.
3:23am - Substantial first-innings totals have been the norm at Eden Gardens in recent years, but the feeling is that Finn and James Anderson may be able to find a hint of assistance this morning. The former bowled beautifully during England’s limited-overs tour of India last year and will be desperate to make his mark after missing the first two Tests through injury. Almost ready to go...
3:10am - Here are the two teams in full.
India: Gautam Gambhir, Virender Sehwag, Cheteshwar Pujara, Sachin Tendulkar, Virat Kohli, Yuvraj Singh, Mahendra Singh Dhoni, Ravichandran Ashwin, Zaheer Khan, Pragyan Ojha, Ishant Sharma.
England: Alastair Cook, Nick Compton, Jonathan Trott, Kevin Pietersen, Ian Bell, Samit Patel, Matt Prior, Graeme Swann, James Anderson, Steven Finn, Monty Panesar.
3:05am - INDIA WIN THE TOSS AND BAT - Cook calls incorrectly for a third game in succession and there are no surprises as Mahendra Singh Dhoni chooses to bat. The aforementioned Bell and Finn are recalled to England’s line-up, with Jonny Bairstow and Stuart Broad the men to make way. Ishant’s inclusion at the expense of Harbhajan is the only change to India’s team.
2:50am - Ian Bell is available once again for England following the birth of his first child and the tourists have also been boosted by the return to fitness of paceman Steven Finn. With Umesh Yadav still sidelined, Ishant Sharma could be recalled to India’s side in place of Harbhajan Singh. We’ll find out shortly when the toss takes place.
2:40am - England’s success at the Wankhede Stadium was built upon wonderful performances from their two spinners - Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann - together with fine centuries from Kevin Pietersen and captain Cook. However, India boast a formidable record at the venue for this week’s encounter, having not lost a Test in Kolkata since 1999.
2:30am - Good morning and welcome to our live coverage of the third Test between India and England at Kolkata’s iconic Eden Gardens. After losing the series-opener in Ahmedabad, Alastair Cook’s tourists bounced back superbly in Mumbai last time out to leave the four-match contest intriguingly poised at 1-1. What happens next? We're about to find out...