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'Nice to get Sachin, Dravid'

James Anderson came back to Test cricket after a gap of 14 months with a bang taking 4 Indian batsmen down, writes Amol Karhadkar.
None | By Amol Karhadkar, Mumbai
UPDATED ON MAR 21, 2006 02:20 AM IST

James Anderson came back to Test cricket after a gap of 14 months with a bang, taking four for 40 in India's first innings to give England a big 121-run lead on the third day of the third Test in Mumbai on Monday.

“I was pleased to get back to Test match cricket,” said Anderson, whose last Test was against South Africa in January 2005 with match figures of two for 152.

Anderson's four wickets included key wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid (Harbhajan Singh and Munaf Patel being the other two).

“All four were special in a sense,” he said. “But it was nice to get Sachin and Dravid's wicket.”

Anderson not only picked wickets whenever he was brought on to bowl but was also economical. He conceded just 40 runs off 19.1 overs, barely over two runs an over. Besides striking major blows, Anderson made a direct hit to remove India's top scorer of the innings Mahendra Singh Dhoni.

“I should have stayed on for 10 to 15 more overs,” said Dhoni. “It would have helped us reduce the 100-plus lead that we conceded in the first innings.”

Dhoni, however, accepted the controversial decision that ruled him out. “It was a close call, but I never looked at the replay,” he said. “I accept the umpire's decision and there's nothing to regret.”

England were leading by 152 runs with eight wickets in hand at stumps on day three. And Anderson believed they could set a challenging target for the Indians in the fourth innings. “I think a target of 280-290 will put us in a relatively safe position,” he said.

Dhoni, on the other hand, said India should not concede more than 100 runs on Tuesday morning. “A target of around 250 would surely be gettable for us (in the fourth innings). “It still has something in it for everyone — the spinners, the fast bowlers and the batsmen,” he said.

Unruly crowd

The Mumbai crowd is considered to be one of the most well behaved in the world, but it seems the impression would soon change after their sick behaviour throughout the ongoing third Test at Wankhede Stadium in Mumbai.

Besides booing Sachin Tendulkar and Virender Sehwag on Sunday, the spectators hurled constant abuse at the English players on Monday.

England captain Andrew Flintoff and medium-pacer Matthew Hoggard came in for special treatment as they bore the brunt of spectator’s ire,  due to India’s less than satisfying display.

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