Indian batsmen didn’t offer much resistance:and bowled out for 178 in a shade under 67 overs in the second innings to allow Englishmen to register 266-runs victory and levelling the series. About 10 minutes remained of the morning session on the final dy, when the off-spinner Moeen beat the tentative bat of India’s last man Pankaj Singh and hit the stumps. The victory ended a 10-match winless sequence for England that goes back to August last year. It was almost too good to be true, in fact, for they dominated every one of the 17 sessions of the match.
The architect of the win was unquestionably Anderson, whose magnificent bowling throughout, but most pertinently in the first Indian innings, where he capitalised on the England total, put his side into the box seat. Match figures of seven for 77 almost do the quality of his bowling a disservice and he stood head and shoulders above the rest of the pace bowlers in the match.
There were candidates galore but rightfully he was deemed man of the match. Whether he will have the opportunity to repeat this at Old Trafford, when the fourth Test is scheduled to start on 7 August, will be down to the judgment of the Australian former judge Gordon Lewis, who will be adjudicating on the charge of serious misconduct levelled against him by India, for an alleged off-field incident during the first Test at Trent Bridge, which if upheld, could result in a suspension.
Anderson made the first inroads into the Indian innings to set up things but it was Moeen’s day. Given a responsive pitch, runs on the board to back him and the increasing confidence of his captain, he visibly gained in stature, taking four more wickets to the two he had on the fourth evening – a spell of four for 17 in 22 balls – that brought him six for 67 in the innings. It was the best figures by an England spinner since Monty Panesar took six for 62 against Pakistan in Abu Dhabi early in 2012 and Graeme Swann’s six for 65 against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 2010 – and eight for 129 in the match. He now has 15 wickets in the series, at 26.46 apiece, outdone on either side only by Anderson’s 16 wickets.
There is enough there then to turn the ball on a dry fifth day pitch but it also gives him more control. He seems to have an instinct for understanding the right pace at which to bowl. Central to his wicket-taking has been the ball that does not turn at all, not to be sneered at. Shane Warne, for example, took many wickets with a simple straight ball, for the threat of turn can be as potent as the turn itself.
Anderson though gave his side the perfect start in his first three overs, when
his third ball of the day found the edge of Rohit Sharma’s bat for Jos Buttler to take the catch and then five balls later, in his following over, MS Dhoni followed suit.
There followed a stand of 32 between Ajinkya Rahane and Ravindra Jadeja but not without alarm as Anderson, Broad and Chris Woakes all beat the bat.
This was no flat-top unforgiving surface. Cook brought Moeen into the attack to bowl the ninth over of the morning from the northern end of the ground but he had to wait until the start of his sixth over for his first success of the day.
Jadeja had played well enough, waiting for the short ball from Moeen to put away on the offside. Although Rahane had driven him delicately through extra cover when he tossed one up on off stump, Jadeja was deceived by a ball fuller than he expected and not turning. The batsman drove, and perhaps with the thinnest of inside edges, was bowled.
Now England were into the tail. Bhuvneshwar Kumar was next to go, caught in the gully by Anderson off Moeen who then bowled Mohammed Shami in his next over, this time the ball turning sharply between pad and groping bat. Moeen had his fifth wicket – and it left only Pankaj.
A brace of boundaries swept by Rahane took him to a half century and a couple of meaty heaves to the fence by Pankaj dented Moeen’s figures but finally the bowler sneaked one round the outside of Pankaj’s bat. Moeen diffidently led the side from the field.