Tag Archives: bowlers

India v England: If Sachin Tendulkar is on the way out, he"s not going in style thanks to James Anderson

If Sachin really is on the way out, he's not going in style… and that's thanks to brilliant bogey man Anderson

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UPDATED:

12:49 GMT, 5 December 2012

India v England: Third Test

Anderson and Panesar turn the screw on India as only Sachin knock stands between England and paradise at Eden Gardens

This was little short of heroic from England. Condemned to bowl first for the third Test in a row, they overcame a loose start to take charge of a day that had at one stage seemed destined to belong to Sachin Tendulkar.

From 45 without loss off 10 overs, India spent the remaining 80 putting together 273 for 7 – testimony both to the meandering nature of a batting line-up that lacked a firm hand on the tiller once Cheteshwar Pujara had jumped ship, and to the discipline of England’s bowlers.

Monty Panesar and Jimmy Anderson in particular were immense. The extent to which Panesar outbowled Graeme Swann at Mumbai wasn’t reflected by respective match hauls of 11 wickets and eight, but there was little doubt which of his two spinners Alastair Cook felt more inclined to turn to before lunch when he craved control.

Bunny: James Anderson dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for 76 at Eden Gardens

Bunny: James Anderson dismissed Sachin Tendulkar for 76 at Eden Gardens

Helped by Tendulkar’s admirable refusal to commit the same errors which had twice cost him against Panesar in Mumbai, England’s left-arm spinner settled into a groove from which he was only budged when Yuvraj Singh hit him for a straight six in the second over after tea.

It was mesmerising stuff, as his two victims would presumably testify: Pujara was undone by one that, deliberately or otherwise, went on with the arm, while Gautam Gambhir cut to slip, where Jonathan Trott was grateful to take one in the guts.

Anderson showed off all his skills. He was unfortunate not to dismiss Gambhir in his opening spell, and underlined his versatility by returning for the 45th over for a stint with the oldish ball.

Virat Kohli was undone by one that left him slightly – India’s batting prodigy has been a desperate let-down in this series – but the wicket that sent Anderson halfway round Eden Gardens was that of Tendulkar, who prodded at the first ball after the post-tea drinks and was well held by a tumbling Matt Prior.

Charmed life: Tendulkar was not convincing despite hitting a half-century

Charmed life: Tendulkar was not convincing despite hitting a half-century

With that wicket Anderson joined Muttiah Muralitharan in a two-man club: only they have dismissed Tendulkar eight times in Tests.

But the context of the game mattered more. At a venue where India had passed 600 in each of their three previous first innings, they were now 230 for 6. (Had Steven Finn not fumbled a glaring chance to run out Ravichandran Ashwin from mid-on in the same over, India would have been 231 for 7.)

For Tendulkar, it was a painful moment. Throughout much of a gripping day, he appeared fated to prove his supporters correct and play the three-figure innings that would silence – temporarily, at least – those who feel he is living on borrowed time.

It was rarely pretty, save for a trio of paddle-sweeps off Swann and one laceration through the covers off Panesar. Mainly, he scored behind the wicket, steering the ball with varying degrees of conviction past the slips. If he really is on his way out, he is not going beautifully.

And yet there was plenty to admire, too. While less gnarled team-mates contrived to surrender their wickets – none more grievously than Yuvraj Singh, who poked a near long hop from Swann to short extra cover – Tendulkar delved deep into his reserves of bloody-mindedness.

No one would have begrudged him a first Test century since January 2011, but England were not in the mood for charity. And that pretty well summed up their day.

Picture dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

India v England: Monty Panesar and James Anderson turn the screw in third Test at Eden Gardens

Anderson and Panesar turn the screw on India as only Sachin knock stands between England and paradise at Eden Gardens

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UPDATED:

11:04 GMT, 5 December 2012

Even India's back-to-form greatest batsman Sachin Tendulkar was unable to stop England grinding out an advantageous position on day one of the third Test at Eden Gardens.

Veteran Tendulkar (76) remains without a Test century in his last 29 innings dating back to early 2011 – but he and opener Gautam Gambhir (60) did manage to salvage a stumps total of 273 for seven.

On a pitch already offering some uneven bounce to the spinners, and some carry and swing for the seamers with the new and old ball, England could easily have been more significantly-rewarded for their disciplined and determined efforts.

James Anderson (three for 68) thought he had Yuvraj Singh lbw for nought, but could not convince umpire Rod Tucker ball had hit pad in line, and Mahendra Singh Dhoni was within inches of holing out at midwicket off Graeme Swann first ball.

Instead, Nos 6 and 7 each went on to frustrate England – the former in a stand of 79 with Tendulkar – in this pivotal match of a four-Test series level at 1-1.

The signs were ominous for England after Alastair Cook lost his third successive toss of the series at a ground where India have declared with more than 600 on the board in the first innings of their last three Tests.

Cook's opposite number Dhoni had predicted a modicum of help for the pace bowlers in the first hour, and so it proved for Anderson and Steven Finn.

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

Rearguard: Sachin Tendulkar was not at his best but still hit 76 in Kolkata

It came to nothing, though, as Gambhir and Virender Sehwag approached a 50 stand – until their running between the wickets failed them.

Sehwag clipped the first ball of the 11th over to midwicket. But Samit Patel saved the boundary with a diving stop, and Finn's race from mid-on in support paid off handsomely when he threw in over the stumps to comfortably run out Sehwag after he was sent back for a third.

It was hardly the way England might have envisaged taking the first wicket, but proved the value of all their attention to detail and painstaking training.

Monty Panesar's first success came in more conventional, indeed classical, fashion.

He had worked hard to draw Cheteshwar Pujara forward several times, and then surprised him on the back foot with an arm ball which snaked through the defence to hit middle-stump.

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Masterclass: James Anderson took two wickets despite unhelpful conditions

Gambhir, joined by Tendulkar to the obligatory raucous crowd reception at this cavernous stadium, appeared unperturbed by a failure from India's prolific new No 3.

The left-handed opener had hit 10 fours and duly completed his 81-ball half-century with a scampered single before lunch.

But he was first to go in the afternoon, laying back to cut after losing the strike against Panesar and edging a sharp chance to slip which Jonathan Trott just about clung on to.

Tendulkar scratched his way to his first 20, regularly playing and missing at Finn and then Anderson as Cook operated the two seamers in tandem with Panesar.

Finn's fine spell was in vain, but Anderson got a deserved breakthrough when Virat Kohli edged low to Swann at second slip.

Swann had bowled only three overs at that stage, but was called into the attack to give Panesar a rest after 21 unchanged.

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Jump for joy: Monty Panesar dismissed Cheteshwar Pujara and Gautam Gambhir

Yuvraj began tentatively, but two driven fours off Swann gave him confidence – and after tea, he immediately went up the wicket to Panesar and struck him for a straight six.

England were toiling by the time Yuvraj lost concentration and poked a catch to cover off Swann, and it might have been two in two next ball when Dhoni's attempt to dominate from the outset brought only a thick inside-edge just short of Patel at midwicket.

Tendulkar began to live up to his billing, increasingly fluent in a 155-ball innings which contained 13 fours but ended in anti-climax – and no 101st international hundred – when he followed some Anderson outswing and was well-caught behind by Matt Prior, diving low to his right.

England then had an obvious chance to run out Ravichandran Ashwin for just a single, he and Dhoni contriving another India mix-up only for Finn to fumble at mid-on when another accurate return to the striker's end would have done the trick.

Anderson, however, ensured it was unarguably England's day when he broke another handy stand by getting through Ashwin's defences with the new ball in the penultimate over.

Picture Dispute

We are unable to carry live pictures from the third Test in Kolkata due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

Kevin Pietersen has wet shave in India ahead of third Test

KP's close shave: After visit to barbers in India, let's hope he delivers another smooth performance!

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UPDATED:

11:16 GMT, 28 November 2012

It was thought Kevin Pietersen would have a close shave against India's spin bowlers in Mumbai, but after scoring 186 magnificent runs to set up an historic win for England, the maverick batsman decided to live life on the edge at the barbers.

The often-stubbled 32-year-old opted to go in for what he described on Twitter as a 'lazy shave' ahead of next week's third Test in Kolkata, and he duly posted a picture of himself being shorn with cut-throat razor alongside the tweet.

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

Cutting edge: Pietersen goes under the knife in India

England fans will be hoping that the shave doesn't have the Samson effect on Pietersen, because if Pietersen continues to bat as he did in Mumbai, Alastair Cook's men surely have a chance of taking a 2-1 lead in the four-match series.

Following this week's 10-wicket win Matt Prior posted a picture of Pietersen enjoying a beer with his team-mates on Twitter, with the accompanying word 'reintegration complete'.

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

Reintegrated: Pietersen celebrates the win in Mumbai with his team-mates

It is certainly refreshing to see Pietersen enjoying himself in the company of his team-mates again.

Long may it continue.

Stuart Broad form an issue for England, says David Saker

Broad's form has become an 'issue' for England, admits bowling coach Saker as Finn returns to action

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UPDATED:

10:11 GMT, 27 November 2012

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

Wicketless: Broad has struggled in India

England have admitted they have ‘an issue’ with Stuart Broad and may consider dropping their vice-captain for the crucial third Test in Kolkata next week.

Broad – who was hit by illness during the second Test as exclusively revealed by Sportsmail on Friday night – had a match to forget here in Mumbai as England pulled off an historic victory to level the series against India, bowling 12 wicketless overs for 60 runs in the first innings and not even being called on in the second.

Now, with Steven Finn returning to action on Monday for the England Performance Squad in their match here in Mumbai, Broad’s place is in question even though he has been one of their principal performers over the last few years.

‘There’s a little bit of an issue with Broad, there’s no doubt it,’ David Saker, the England fast bowling coach, told Sky TV here this morning. ‘He hasn’t bowled as we would have liked and he would be the first to admit that.

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for EnglandVice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

Vice-captain: Broad is second in command for England

‘He’s not the first fast bowler to come over here and find it hard but the great fast bowlers have had success over here. Stuart is probably not a great yet but he has to learn ways to become great. It’s a great learning curve for him.

‘If he gets the next Test he will have to be ready for it. During my tenure as bowling coach I haven’t had too many players down on confidence and form. This is when I have to come to the party. I hope I can do stuff over the next few days that can help.’

With Tim Bresnan struggling in the first Test in Ahmedabad and being dropped for the second, Broad’s inclusion at Eden Gardens will probably come down to whether Finn has recovered from the thigh injury he suffered in the field in England’s first warm-up game here.

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

Knocking on the door: Finn plays for the Performance Squad this week

‘We’ve got our fingers crossed he’ll come through,’ said Saker. ‘If he gets through this game unscathed his name will definitely be up for selection next week.’

‘Finn has got that x-factor, a bit of pace, that height that always means you can get variable bounce over here. So his name will be bandied around for sure for that second seamer’s spot.’

India v England second Test analysis – The Top Spin, Lawrence Booth

Home is not so comforting after all as Dhoni's plan backfires

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UPDATED:

12:19 GMT, 27 November 2012

England v India – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

One of England’s most famous wins must also rank as one of India’s most wretched defeats. This series, if local TV is to be believed, was all about revenge – not just for fact of the 4-0 loss in 2011, but for the manner of it, played out in what many Indians have convinced themselves were conditions tailored for an English triumph.

And so India, egged on by MS Dhoni, decided two could play at that game. They denied England any meaningful practice against spin during the three warm-up games – a tactic akin to county sides picking four slow bowlers at home against India – and chose three frontline tweakers for the first time in a Test since the visit of Australia in 2003-04.

Dhoni even expressed dissatisfaction with the pitch at Ahmedabad, despite it being precisely the kind of surface on which England have traditionally struggled: slow, ankle-low, flat as a roti.

Back to the drawing board: Dhoni's plan to spin England out backfired spectacularly

Back to the drawing board: Dhoni's plan to spin England out backfired spectacularly

More from Lawrence Booth…

The Top Spin: Spooked England were beaten in their minds in Ahmedabad
20/11/12

The Top Spin: India preparations leave England in a spin, but for Cook's charges the warm-up has barely begun
13/11/12

The Top Spin: Why India are clinging to faith in England's ineptitude against spin
06/11/12

The Top Spin: England's batsmen show they are still struggling to get to grips with spin
24/09/12

The Top Spin: England voyage into the unknown on a wing and a prayer
18/09/12

The Top Spin: Bears, Twitter and textgate… a review of the summer that was
10/09/12

The Top Spin: KP's England future is more dependent on his attitude than he may realise
03/09/12

The Top Spin: Strauss's future uncertain after mid-table mediocrity takes hold at precisely the wrong moment
21/08/12

VIEW FULL ARCHIVE

Had he really wanted to rub English noses in it, he would have demanded three more pitches just like that one. Instead, eyes lit up in the first over of the Test, when Jimmy Anderson – as well as removing Gautam Gambhir – had Matt Prior taking the ball above his shoulder.

Bounce: it’s the one ingredient designed to bring England into a Test match in Asia, because it encourages both strokeplay and attacking spin bowlers. India, it turns out, have only one: Pragyan Ojha. England, miracle of miracles, have two.

In the post-match press conference Dhoni stuck manfully to his line about wanting Indian pitches to turn from the first ball, because – he says – this renders the toss less important. Either he’s being genuinely philanthropic or hopelessly disingenuous. Lamentably for India, Plan A backfired. And there was no Plan B.

India can quite obviously still win this series, but it might do their long-term prospects the world of good if they stopped taking refuge in the old chestnut of home advantage.

Let’s rewind for a moment to 2011, the series in which England supposedly knocked them over on a succession of obliging greentops.

Lord’s, the venue for the first Test, is no such thing. It happens to be one of the truest surfaces in the world. India’s problem in that game was the early injury to an unfit Zaheer Khan.

At Trent Bridge, India twice blew match-winning positions, reducing England to 124 for 8 on the first day, then eyeing up a decisive first-innings lead when they reached 267 for 4 themselves. That they lost by 319 runs had little to do with the conditions.

Famous win: England twice came from behind to beat India at Trent Bridge last year

Famous win: England twice came from behind to beat India at Trent Bridge last year

THE TOP SPIN ON TWITTER

For cricket-related snippets from England's tour of India, go to twitter.com/the_topspin

At Edgbaston, England scored 710 for 7 against an Indian attack containing three seamers. Again, if that really was a seaming track, it was simply the case that India failed to exploit it.

And at The Oval, they lost seven wickets after tea on the final day on a typically flat Kennington pitch and with the game ripe for the saving.

But the narrative that emerged from that series was a convenient one: India had been diddled by home advantage. What hope did they have

At Edgbaston, Gautam Gambhir suggested life would be less congenial for England when they arrived in India. And at Ahmedabad, it most certainly was. Yet England, to their eternal credit, refused to panic, even if Stuart Broad betrayed their tetchiness on Twitter.

Here, though, we come to another twist: England’s win in Mumbai was essentially the work of four men, with a little help from Nick Compton. And all four played out of their skins.

Bowled him: Gautam Gambhir loses his wicket at Edgbaston last year

Bowled him: Gautam Gambhir loses his wicket at Edgbaston last year

To apply the law of averages, you might think Alastair Cook is due a failure at Kolkata after scoring 357 runs at 119 in the first two Tests, while Kevin Pietersen’s extra-terrestrial innings tend not to occur more than once a series. (This is not a dig, just an observation.)

Equally, it remains unclear who should partner Anderson as the second seamer at Eden Gardens. Will Steven Finn be fit Will Broad be in the right frame of mind Will Tim Bresnan even be considered

Just as the Ahmedabad win glossed over India’s own deficiencies, so Mumbai runs the risk of over-inflating England. The champagne-glass half-full will have tasted sweet last night.

But the glass half-empty tells you that the normally grounded Jonathan Trott looks at sea against spin, Ian Bell will have to start again – assuming he returns in place of Jonny Bairstow – and Samit Patel is yet to make a serious impact.

And that is the beauty of a Test series longer than three matches. This series has time for the subplots to work their magic or do their worst. England can either make history – or repeat it.

THAT WAS THE WEEK THAT WAS

No laughing matter

Even in the aftermath of England’s historic win in Mumbai came a sense of the touchiness that has been close to the surface ever since the loss in Ahmedabad. Speaking about England’s constant claims over the past few months about how their batting has improved against spin, Alastair Cook suggested that ‘you guys were probably laughing a little bit’ – as if the media were walking around revelling in the latest collapse.

Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s no fun writing the same old story time and again. If there was any laughter at the Wankhede, it came from a mixture of pleasure and relief: the best tale is the most unexpected one.

Backs to the wall: Cook felt the media were against England after Ahmedabad

Backs to the wall: Cook felt the media were against England after Ahmedabad

Enough is enough

What has happened to the umpiring in this series At times, the lbw and bat-pad decisions have resembled guesswork. When Aleem Dar turned down Monty Panesar’s appeal for the wicket of Pragyan Ojha, who had gloved him to backward short leg, he almost deserved our sympathy.

While the BCCI’s objection to the DRS looks more absurd by the howler, could it be that umpires who have grown used to officiating with the comfort blanket of technology have subsequently lost their bearings without it With DRS, a mistake does not remain a mistake for long; without it, the pressure is on. The need for the ICC’s other Full Members to drag India into line is more urgent than ever. Don’t hold your breath.

A twisted kind of logic

Why does Kevin Pietersen’s for-the-ages 186 demand an apology from those who suggested England were right to drop him in the summer Answer: it doesn’t. It takes a wilfully bone-headed type of logic to claim that KP has shown England what they have been missing, since he was never dropped for a lack of runs in the first place.

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

Beer we go: England celebrate their win in Mumbai

If that proves a little tricky to grasp, then this should be more straightforward: it was Pietersen himself who retired from one-day international and Twenty20 cricket, Pietersen himself who warned that the Lord’s Test against South Africa could be his last. The one good thing to come from the texting furore was that it brought to a head tensions that had been simmering for months. Now, can we just get on with enjoying the rest of his career

Let’s hear it for Tests

On the same day that England were beating India in Mumbai, South Africa completed a fantastic rearguard in Adelaide, where Test debutant Faf du Plessis batted for 14 minutes short of eight hours to make a mockery of those who claimed the game was already Australia’s. The two matches had as much in common as the batting of Cook and Pietersen – yet both contrasts were a reminder of the endless fascination of Test cricket. We’re lucky to have it.

India v England: Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann join the spin doctors

Top Spin at the Test: Dynamic duo of Panesar and Swann join the spin doctors

By
Lawrence Booth

PUBLISHED:

21:24 GMT, 26 November 2012

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UPDATED:

21:24 GMT, 26 November 2012


Legend: England off-spinner Jim Laker

Legend: England off-spinner Jim Laker

English spinners took 19 wickets in a Test for the first time since 1958, when Jim Laker (11) and Tony Lock (eight) knocked over a poor New Zealand side for 67 and 109 at Headingley.

That pair were also responsible for the one game in which Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann’s Mumbai match haul of 19 for 323 has been bettered by English slow bowlers. At Old Trafford in 1956, Laker and Lock shared all 20 Australian wickets — or rather, Laker claimed 19 to Lock’s one.

Panesar’s the third man

Had umpire Aleem Dar not reprieved Pragyan Ojha when he edged Monty Panesar to leg slip on the final morning, Panesar would have returned the best match figures by an English spinner in a Test in Asia.

Instead, he had to settle for 11-210, which placed him third, behind fellow slow-left armers Nick Cook (11-83 v Pakistan at Karachi, 1983-84) and Hedley Verity (11-153 v India at Madras, 1933-34).

History boys

This was only the second time in 12 years that India have lost a Test at home after winning the toss and batting first — the grimace on Alastair Cook’s face when he called incorrectly on Friday morning was understandable.

In fact, they rarely lose at home at all: this was only their seventh defeat in 56 Tests in India since they went down to Steve Waugh’s Australians in Mumbai in March 2001.

Spin kings: Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar celebrate in the dressing room

Spin kings: Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar celebrate in the dressing room

Swann’s soaring to new heights

India’s captain MS Dhoni insisted that England’s spinners outbowled India’s principally because Monty Panesar was quicker through the air.
But where did that leave Graeme Swann

The off-spinner — who during the course of the match overtook John Snow to move into 13th on England’s all-time Test wicket-taking list — claimed eight for 113.

By contrast, India’s two offies, Ravichandran Ashwin and Harbhajan Singh, managed just four for 251 between them.

No 'I' in Team, Gautam

Gautam Gambhir raised a few eyebrows on the final morning when he appeared to place his desire to carry his bat — something only three Indians have ever managed — above the team needs.

Twice, Gambhir exposed his tail-end colleagues with a single off the first ball of an over, prompting Shane Warne, sitting in the commentary box, to tweet: ‘Surely Gambhir should not be taking singles I think as he has been in poor form he wants a not out !!!!! Team first please…..’

Picture Dispute

We
are unable to carry live pictures from the Second Test in Mumbai due to
a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and
international news organisations. The BCCI has refused access to Test
venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images
and other Indian photographic agencies. MailOnline consider this action
to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott
BCCI imagery.

Nasser Hussain: Alastair Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on

Captain Cook must think on his feet now that the pressure is on

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UPDATED:

22:45 GMT, 21 November 2012

There clearly isn't much Alastair Cook needs to learn about batting in India, as his total of 217 runs in the Ahmedabad Test proved.

But while he comfortably outscored his opposite number MS Dhoni, he could certainly have learned a thing or two from him about the art of captaincy in that part of the world.

I am not saying that it's easy for a boy from Bedford School to adapt to conditions that are as far removed from England as you can imagine.

Crunch time: Alastair Cook will be hoping for an improved performance in the second Test

Crunch time: Alastair Cook will be hoping for an improved performance in the second Test

But, basically, Cook needs to be less English in his approach. Back home, captains can rotate their seamers until tea in the knowledge that the Dukes ball will remain hard and the quicker bowlers will always be in the game.

But in India, the seamers are often at their most dangerous when the ball is older and reverse-swinging.

Sometimes, the new ball does absolutely nothing. On the first morning at Ahmedabad, Cook (right) didn't realise the danger quickly enough, and by the time Graeme Swann came on to bowl, Virender Sehwag had already got India off to a flyer.

Contrast that with Dhoni, who opened the bowling with his off-spinner Ravi Ashwin. In India, it's crucial that players think on their feet.

If it's clear from the first over that there's no bounce for the seamers, try the spinner.

Adapt: Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain believes Cook should take a 'less English' approach

Adapt: Sportsmail's Nasser Hussain believes Cook should take a 'less English' approach

Zaheer Khan bowled only two overs out of the first 40 in England's second innings. And that's because Dhoni was adapting to the conditions.

Cook's bowlers have to help him out, too. Line and length might work on greentops, but it was noticeable how much more effective Zaheer and Umesh Yadav were when they pitched the ball up, aiming yorkers at the stumps.

These are early days for Cook, who has already done the most important thing as captain, which is to lead from the front with the bat.

But now he needs to show some inspiration as a leader in the field, too.

Nasser Hussain: England haunted by old demons

Old subcontinental demons come back to haunt England

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UPDATED:

21:07 GMT, 16 November 2012

England have been, well, just too English in this Test. What works for them at home will not work in India and this was such a flat pitch that the bowlers should have tried to take it out of the equation.

Where were the yorkers and the cutters Instead England tried to bore India out by bowling a tight line and length and that was never going to work. Can you imagine Waqar Younis and Wasim Akram bowling like that in these conditions

Old demons: Jonathan Trott lost his wicket late on day two

Old demons: Jonathan Trott lost his wicket late on day two

India v England – pictures

We are unable to carry live pictures from the First Test in Ahmedabad due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.

The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.

MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.

I cannot fault the effort of the bowlers and it has to be remembered they were bowling at a formidable Indian line-up who had everything in their favour. But England seemed to have no tricks up their sleeve and nobody appeared to go to the captain Alastair Cook and say: ‘Let’s try something else.’

For the seamers to bowl 70 overs with such little success shows that England read the conditions wrong. And as they did, why didn’t Kevin Pietersen bowl more The sight of Ravi Ashwin then opening the bowling for India perfectly demonstrated how England should have bowled much more spin.

As I said on Friday, I know England’s strategy is based around what their ‘Moneyball’ man, analyst Nathan Leamon, is telling them. But I would rather Andy Flower and Graham Gooch had looked beyond the statistics, looked at the pitch and trusted their 60 years of cricket experience and knowledge.

I said before this tour that I would have opened with Jonathan Trott and found room in the middle order for Jonny Bairstow and nothing that happened on Friday changed my mind.

I have nothing against Nick Compton and now he is playing he deserves a fair run in the side but it was always going to be a very hard place to hand someone their debut.

Graeme Swann returns to England squad after return to see ill daughter

England enjoy full complement of bowlers ahead of first Test after Swann returns

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UPDATED:

07:47 GMT, 12 November 2012

Graeme Swann rejoined his England team-mates early this morning, after his 8,000-mile return trip home while his baby daughter was unwell.

England therefore have their full complement of players back on tour, and are confident Swann will suffer no ill-effects of his globe-trotting when the first Test starts against India on Thursday.

Back in the frame: After a brief dash home, Swann is back with the squad

Back in the frame: After a brief dash home, Swann is back with the squad

They are increasingly but still only cautiously optimistic too about the fitness of Steven Finn and Stuart Broad, after the two fast bowlers bowled in the nets yesterday as they continue their recovery from respective thigh and heel injuries.

Swann arrived in Ahmedabad at around 6am today, having spent a handful of days at home after his flight to the UK in the middle of last week.

England believe the off-spinner, key to their prospects in the four-Test series, will have sufficient time to get over his long-distance travel and ready himself for the challenge ahead. 'It's great his little one's okay,' said assistant coach Richard Halsall.

Bowled over: Finn and Broad both came through net sessions yesterday

Bowled over: Finn and Broad both came through net sessions yesterday

Bowled over: Finn and Broad both came through net sessions yesterday

'I wouldn't have thought he'd have been thinking about staying in the Indian time zone back home.

'He's a fantastic Test cricketer. He's got three days now to get himself ready – and with someone of Graeme's experience, he'll be fine for 930 on Thursday.'

Stuart Broad and Steven Finn pass nets test as England draw with Haryana

Broad and Finn pass nets test as England's final warm-up in India ends in a draw

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UPDATED:

11:07 GMT, 11 November 2012

England's final warm-up match before Thursday's first Test against India finished in a predictable draw here in Ahmedabad today – but not before their bowlers had claimed six of Haryana's second-innings wickets and both Stuart Broad and Steven Finn emerged unscathed from a session in the nearby nets.

Supervised by fielding coach Richard Halsall, the two fast bowlers got through about five overs each as they seek to recover from niggles in time for the Test.

For Broad, it was a first run-out since bruising his left heel seven days ago during the game against Mumbai A. Finn, meanwhile, has now bowled practice overs on three successive days, and showed no ill-effects from the thigh strain that interrupted his tour on the first morning against India A.

Full Monty: Panesar took a wicket as England ended their last warm-up match in a positive manner

Full Monty: Panesar took a wicket as England ended their last warm-up match in a positive manner

Haryana v England

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To play both men in the first Test would be a risk. Finn has sent down only four first-class overs on this trip, and Broad 10. But it is a risk England may decide to take as they look to hit India hard at the start of the four-match series.

The hosts' perceived weakness against the short ball – and these things are relative – is one of the few comfort blankets for England to cling on to. Without Broad or Finn, that tactic becomes non-starter.

One certainty is that Graeme Swann will take his place in the Ahmedabad Test. England's No 1 spinner is due to return to India tomorrow morning after spending some time back home with his wife and baby daughter, who has been unwell.

Events on the field on the last day of four felt suitably low-key, with Tim Bresnan taking the chance to remind the selectors that he is ready to step in should others not make it in time.

After taking three wickets in the first
innings, Bresnan added two more after tea as Haryana closed on 133 for 6
when the teams shook hands shortly after 4pm local time. There was a
successful lbw shout apiece for Stuart Meaker, Samit Patel and Monty
Panesar, while Graham Onions chipped in late on.

Final preparations: England took six wickets on the final day of their last warm-up

Final preparations: England took six wickets on the last day of their last warm-up

Final preparations: England took six wickets on the last day of their last warm-up

Earlier, Jonathan Trott became the fifth England batsman to score a century out here before he retired on 101. He even hit a six – something he is yet to manage from the 5,626 deliveries he has faced in Test cricket. No wonder the bowler, Haryana’s stocky medium-pacer Chanderpal Saini, looked put out.

Each of the Test top seven has now made at least one fifty, with additional hundreds for Alastair Cook and Patel in the first match, Jonny Bairstow in the second, and Kevin Pietersen here.

Thrown into the mix today was 79 from Nick Compton, who was 54 overnight, and has now hit three fifties in a row after beginning the tour with 0 and 1; and 48 from Ian Bell, who continues to look elegant in patches.

There was a flurry of wickets ahead of England’s declaration on 254 for 7, including second-ball ducks for both Patel and Pietersen. But the pieces may just be starting to fall into place for Cook’s team. We’ll know more when the first Test finally gets under way on Thursday.

Net result: Broad and Finn showed no ill-effects during their bowling session

Net result: Broad and Finn showed no ill-effects during their bowling session

Net result: Broad and Finn showed no ill-effects during their bowling session