PACEMAN James Anderson has backed Samit Patel’s bid for a regular Test place after the all-rounder completed his first England century in yesterday’s drawn tour match against India A.
Patel scored 104 to add to captain Alastair Cook’s 119 as England amassed 426 for their first innings, a lead of 57, before India reached 124-4 in the final action of the three-day contest in Mumbai.
The Nottinghamshire man has only played two Tests but has enhanced his chances of starting the four-match series against India on 15 November with an eye-catching stint at the crease.
Anderson believes Patel’s selection hopes could be further enhanced by his ability to cope with the spin bowling that has so often proved England’s undoing on trips to the subcontinent.
“I thought he was outstanding in this game, showed great temperament and just looked calm and controlled,” said Anderson. “He played at his own tempo – Cook at the other end, playing at his, which is very different to Samit’s – and I thought they complemented each other very well. He’s a very good all-round player. He plays spin very well. He was very controlled and composed out there, and that’s what you need in these conditions.”
Anderson admitted that scepticism about Kevin Pietersen’s ability to fit back in following his disruptive text messaging exploits had been justified, but insisted the explosive batsman had enjoyed a smooth reintegration.
“All the stuff that’s gone on, it’s all well and good saying ‘we’re going to draw a line under it’,” he added. “But I think that’s actually happened, and it just seems to be back to normal in the dressing room and on the field.”
Matt Prior built on Patel and Cook’s fifth-wicket stand of 169 with an almost run-a-ball 51, with Tim Bresnan adding 33 not out as Yuvraj Singh proved India A’s most effective bowler with 5-94.
Anderson took two more wickets to add to his first-innings pair, with Bresnan and Patel, who claimed Ajinkya Rahane (54), claiming one apiece. England’s next tour match, against a Mumbai XI, begins on Saturday.