First hour crucial for England - Anderson
England will not fall into the trap of believing their job is done, despite moving tantalisingly close to securing series victory over India on day four of the final Test at Nagpur.
Alastair Cook’s side - bidding to become the first England team to win in India since 1985 - appear well placed to deny their hosts the triumph they need to draw level at 2-2.
Thanks largely to an unbeaten 66 from Jonathan Trott, England reached stumps today on 161 for three in their second innings, leading by 165.
With a lifeless pitch making quick scoring almost impossible, it would appear the tourists need only bat past lunch on the final day to be confident of putting the game to bed.
Yet James Anderson made it clear that complacency will not be allowed to creep in as England aim to complete a triumph that would rank alongside any of their recent successes.
“There’s still a long way to go in the game. It’s a really important start for us tomorrow,” said the paceman.
“The first hour will be crucial. If we can get through that then hopefully we can build a couple of good partnerships throughout the day and make sure the game is safe.”
Trott’s progression to a second half-century in as many Tests was not the sole source of frustration for India.
Off-spinner Ravichandran Ashwin revealed he had been unimpressed when Trott, to the amusement of many, marched out of his crease to collect four from a Ravindra Jadeja delivery that had slipped out of the bowler’s hand and come to a standstill two-thirds of the way down the pitch.
India later thought they had Trott caught behind for 43 off Ishant Sharma, although replays suggested umpire Kumar Dharmasena had been right to reject an impassioned appeal.
Lengthy expressions of discontent followed, towards both Trott and the officials, yet England’s number three did not seem in the least put off.
Team-mate Anderson confirmed that the stoic batsman is unlikely to lose his concentration because of a few pointed remarks in his direction.
“I think he quite enjoys it,” Anderson said.
“Some batsmen are really determined and I think he’s the sort of guy that would relish that battle and really try to get stuck in.”
It is not unknown for fast bowler Anderson to ‘engage’ batsmen verbally himself, but he senses he would not have complained if he had been hit for four like Jadeja.
Asked whether he might have reacted badly in such unusual circumstances, he said: “I don’t know. Probably not - because I’d do it if I was the batsman.
“I think I saw (India captain Mahendra Singh) Dhoni laughing about it at one stage, so I don’t think that was the catalyst.
“When we’re in the middle of a tough Test match, a crucial Test match, things are going to get heated from time to time.
“Two teams want to win a game of cricket, with the series on the line, so things do inevitably boil over from time to time.”
For the second day in succession, only four wickets were taken, with England having ousted Pragyan Ojha prior to India’s declaration on 326 for nine.
Anderson reflected on the significance of the previous day’s final hour, in which India undid much of their earlier hard work by collapsing from 269 for four to 297 for eight.
“(Virat) Kohli and Dhoni played extremely well yesterday (en route to 103 and 99 respectively) - but I think we’re in a pretty good position in the game,” Anderson added.
“It’s a pretty flat pitch and as a seam bowler you have really got to run in and give it everything to try and get anything out of it. I tried to do that yesterday.
“Maybe I was feeling a bit tired towards the end of the day, but as soon as we saw an opening to get amongst their batsmen we all tried to pounce on that.”