MANCHESTER, August 7, 2014: Stuart Broad took six wickets as India were bowled out for just 152 on the first day of the fourth Test against England at Old Trafford on Thursday. However, India’s final total — built on a defiant 71 from captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni, who opted to bat first after winning the toss in overcast conditions — represented a considerable recovery after they had been eight for four.
It was the worst start to the first innings of a Test since England were two for four against South Africa at Johannesburg in 1999 when Duncan Fletcher, now in charge of India, was their coach. At stumps England were 113 for three, 39 runs behind. Ian Bell was 45 not out and nightwatchman Chris Jordan unbeaten on nought after Gary Ballance (37) fell late in the day.
Broad, showing no sign of a right knee injury which he later said would require surgery, took six for 25 in 13.4 overs, including a post-lunch burst of four for six in 21 balls. Meanwhile, Broad’s new-ball partner James Anderson had figures of three for 46 in 14 overs on his Lancashire home ground.
“A brilliant day, we’re in an extremely strong position,” Broad told Sky Sports. “I was a bit disappointed when we lost the toss, but we got lucky with the overheads which made a big difference in the first hour — every ball was nickable.” Broad and Anderson have now taken more than 500 Test wickets between them and Broad added: “I wanted to challenge the front foot without giving away easy drives, that’s how the partnership with Jimmy works as we can bowl different lengths.”
Anderson, although the International Cricket Council confirmed Wednesday they would not take further action against him after he had been cleared of abusing and pushing India’s Ravindra Jadeja during the drawn first Test at Trent Bridge, came into this match under a cloud for his persistent ‘sledging’.
But few India batsmen, Dhoni apart, lingered long enough at the crease for it to become an issue on Thursday. India in fact equalled the record of six ducks in a Test innings, with three of their top four out for nought. Apart from Dhoni, the only other India batsmen to make it into double figures were Ravichandran Ashwin (40) and Ajinkya Rahane (24).
All of India’s first four wickets fell with their score on eight. Gautam Gambhir, recalled in place of the dropped Shikhar Dhawan in one of three changes to the India side that lost the third Test in Southampton by 266 runs, was first out when he nicked Broad to Joe Root in the gully.
– Anderson’s double –
Anderson, man-of-the-match in Southampton as England levelled the five-match series at 1-1 with their first win in 11 Tests, initially struggled to control the lavish swing on offer. But he got his line and length right in the fifth over.
He took two wickets for no runs in three balls as both opener Murali Vijay and Virat Kohli fell for ducks after edging to England captain Alastair Cook at first slip.
Cheteshwar Pujara also exited for nought, well caught in the slips by Jordan off Broad. India were now eight for four inside six overs. Rahane and Dhoni repaired some of the early damage during a fifth-wicket of 54 before Rahane edged Jordan to Bell at second slip.
Jadeja never got off the mark, falling lbw to an Anderson inswinger shortly after lunch to the audible delight of an Old Trafford still angered by his role in the Trent Bridge fracas with their local hero. Ashwin, albeit dropped on 25, offered excellent support to Dhoni in a seventh-wicket partnership of 66 where he scored at nearly a run-a-ball before he was caught in the deep off Broad.
Dhoni was eventually out when he hoisted a Broad ball from outside off stump straight to Jordan at deep backward square leg. And when Broad bowled last man Pankaj Singh for nought, India were all out inside 47 overs. Australia-born England opener Sam Robson was bowled middle stump leaving a Bhuvneshwar Kumar inswinger.
Then Cook, fresh from his two fifties in Southampton, hooked recalled fast bowler Varun Aaron straight to Pankaj Singh at long leg. Ballance and Bell, who both made hundreds at Southampton, added 77 before the former was lbw to Aaron.