In conditions completely different to those seen back home, England seamer James Anderson still managed to stand apart from his team mates with an adequate display. However, Indian skipper Virat Kohli, who struggled badly against him during the 2014 series, showed his class by smashing an unbeaten 151 during the opening day of the second Test in Vizag.
At the end of day press conference, the 34-year old pacer opened up on the importance of not allowing Kohli to settle down whilst admitting that the right-hander ‘punished’ the English bowlers in the company of fellow centurion Cheteshwar Pujara.
Anderson quipped, “I bowled a few balls at him when he (Kohli) came in. Someone like him, we feel like it’s important to get him out with the new ball. If you don’t get him out, he’ll punish you like he did today. We let ourselves down about half an hour before tea. On that pitch, we’re reasonably happy with what we achieved.”
The veteran added, “I thought the wicket was tough to bowl on. The outfield was heavy. There will be some sore legs tomorrow. The two guys who got hundreds set about their business brilliantly, they showed they are world-class players.”
On a pitch which showed signs of breaking down over the course of the remaining days, India won a crucial toss and saw both their openers dismissed with only 22 runs on the scoreboard. While Stuart Broad accounted for KL Rahul, Anderson himself sent back the usually solid Murali Vijay by utilising the short-ball to maximum effect.
When asked about his stellar comeback from injury, he revealed, “I’ve spent the last two months working really hard to get back into the side and it’s been frustrating at times, but it’s been worth all the hard work I’ve put in. Getting back out there with the lads was a great feeling and to get back on the board with a couple of wickets was even better. I’ve not even thought about my shoulder. It’s the rest of my body that’s in pieces right now, it’s just general recovery. There are things I’ll be doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again.”
After overcoming a hesitant period of running between the wickets, Kohli and Pujara combined together to put on as many as 226 runs. Particularly severe against the spinners, the duo scored at a healthy run-rate which increased the pressure on England. Even though Anderson prised out a couple of wickets towards the end of the day, India’s captain retained the hosts’ advantage by continuing to hold fort.
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Pertinently, the visitors could have seized the momentum during the post-lunch session when Kohli offered them an opportunity. However, Adil Rashid misjudged a catch and consequently the chance went begging. With India’s lower-order batsmen eager to convert the overnight score of 317/4 into a daunting total, Alastair Cook’s team have their task cut out.
England’s all-time leading wicket-taker noted, “I am not sure whether the pitch will stay together as well as (in) Rajkot. There are already signs of the pitch keeping low. There will be more variable bounce, we have seen a few spun. So, we are in tough position. We need to have a good day with the ball and an extremely good outing with the bat tomorrow.”