England moved a step closer to becoming the world’s top-ranked Test cricket team with a 196-run win over India in the opening match of their best-of-four series.
Fast bowler James Anderson took 5-65, including the key wickets of Rahul Dravid, VVS Laxman and Sachin Tendulkar, as England bowled India out for 261 at Lord’s in London yesterday. Stuart Broad finished with 3-57.
England heads to the second match starting in three days in Nottingham with a 1-0 lead as it seeks to top the International Cricket Council’s rankings for the first time. Third-ranked England can overtake No. 1 India if it wins the series by two Tests or more.
“We’re aware that it’s the opening salvo in the series,” England captain Andrew Strauss said at a post-match news conference. “There’s a lot of cricket still to be played. We can’t get too satisfied with ourselves and we’ve got to be ready to go on Friday.”
England will take an unchanged squad into the second Test at Trent Bridge, a ground where Anderson has taken 28 wickets at an average of 15.89 runs apiece in four previous matches.
“There was a lot to be pleased about from the opening Test,” said national selector Geoff Miller. “We saw some excellent performances with both bat and ball.”
England batted first and racked up 474-8 declared on day two after rain cut into play. Man of the match Kevin Pietersen scored 202 runs, while India was dismissed for 286 in its reply on the third day. Matt Prior then cracked his sixth Test century as England declared its second innings on 269-6, an overall lead of 457.
Final Session Slump
India, needing what would have been a record fourth-innings total of 458 to win a Test, began yesterday’s final session on 218-5 and lost its last five wickets for 36 runs.
Anderson had taken the wickets of Dravid, Laxman and Tendulkar before the tea break. The swing bowler then removed Harbhajan Singh for 12 and Suresh Raina for 78 to complete match figures of 7-152.
Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann also took a wicket each on the final day. Paceman Zaheer Khan, whose hamstring injury on day one had reduced India to three bowlers for much of the match, was not out without scoring.
India captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni said the match had become quite tough after losing Zaheer so early.
“It was very difficult to bowl with three bowlers,” Dhoni said. “The pitch did not take too much turn on the first two days and we did not have too many options. So it was quite difficult in terms of resources.”
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