PACEMAN James Anderson savoured his record-equalling eighth career scalp of India great Sachin Tendulkar after England took charge on the first day of the third Test in Kolkata yesterday.
Anderson claimed three wickets as India were reduced to 273-7 at Eden Gardens, including that of Tendulkar (76), putting him level with Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan as the bowler to have dismissed the Little Master most.
Spinner Monty Panesar took two of his own as the tourists maintained momentum from their 10-wicket victory in the second Test and boosted hopes of a first series win in India since 1985.
“Sachin was the big one,” said Anderson (3-68), who also accounted for Virat Kohli (6) and Ravichandran Ashwin (21). “He is such a class player, who can get a big hundred. We got him at just the right time. After scratching around early on, he looked set.”
Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir (60) kept the hosts in the contest, but Anderson’s ability to elicit reverse swing saw him take centre stage for the first time in the four-match series and gave England the edge.
“When the ball reverses it makes my job so much easier. We have had hints of that earlier [in the series] but nothing like today,” he added.
“It’s crucial because it keeps you in the game. We’re playing on an abrasive pitch, which is perfect for reversing. It’s also harder than the others so there is something there if you bend your back. There aren’t many demons in it, but it’ll deteriorate like any good pitch.”
India won the toss yet again but farce soon struck their innings when Virender Sehwag was run out for 23, before Panesar bowled Cheteshwar Pujara (16) and forced Gambhir to cut to Jonathan Trott.
Virat Kohli managed just six runs before guiding Anderson to Graeme Swann, who removed Yuvraj Singh (32). Anderson then ended Tendulkar’s resistance and bowled Ashwin, leaving under-fire captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni (22 not out) and Zaheer Khan (0no) at the crease.
ANDERSON’S TOP FIVE
Jimmy Anderson’s favourite victims from 281 wickets in 76 England Tests:
57 South Africa
36 West Indies