Despite Duckett’s departure, Crawley stands at 29 not out, joined by promoted Ahmed on nine, with England needing 332 more runs for a remarkable victory in the Bazball era’s toughest challenge…reports Asian Lite News
As England face an improbable task of chasing a record 399 in the second Test against India, veteran fast-bowler James Anderson revealed head coach Brendon McCullum told the side to try and chase down any score posted by India at the end, even if it is 600.
England ended day three’s play at 67/1 in 14 overs, in a chase of 399. Though they lost Ben Duckett, Zak Crawley remains not out on 29, alongside the promoted Rehan Ahmed, who’s unbeaten on nine, with England needing 332 more runs for an astonishing victory in what is the toughest challenge of the Bazball era so far.
England’s highest fourth-innings successful run chase in India came way back in 1972 when they chased down 207 runs for a victory. As of now, their best-ever successful chase against India came in July 2022, when they chased a record 378 at Edgbaston, under the Stokes-McCullum regime.
“Absolutely. We feel well in the game. We got sat down by the coach last night and he said if India get 600 ahead, we’re going to try and chase it down, that is exactly what we’re going to do. I thought we stuck to our task really well today.”
“They put on a partnership at one point, but I thought the way the spinners kept going and kept toiling was brilliant. We’re in a great position and we’re going to give it a good crack tomorrow,” said Anderson to TNT Sports at the end of day three’s play.
In the morning, Anderson bowled a masterly spell of 2-29 in 10 overs as India’s second innings folded at 255 in 78.3 overs. Anderson’s first over of the morning saw him send Rohit Sharma’s off-stump on a cartwheel ride with a delivery which nipped away just slightly. He then got one to nip away and take Yashasvi Jaiswal’s outside edge on the drive to first slip. “For me, you know out here that as a seamer you’ve got a limited chance to bowl, it is going to be a lot of load for the spinners, so I just focus on being in the right spot every ball and trying to bowl my best ball every ball.”
“Sometimes it comes off and sometimes it doesn’t. Fortunately, today I managed to get a couple early on, set us off well and that allowed the spinners to do their thing from the other end,” he said on his performance.
Talking about the key factors for his longevity, Anderson said, “I’m not sure there’s a key to it. I’m lucky that my body can cope with the stresses of Test cricket. I’ve not had any operations in my career which is huge, and I look after myself pretty well. All of those things together have allowed me to play for this long and I still love playing the game so I think that hunger helps.”
“That comes from various places. I’ve always loved playing cricket from a young age, and I love playing in this dressing room at the moment. That keeps me going a little bit more. I love this group of blokes; the captain and coach have got a great thing going at the moment and it’s fun to be a part of. For me, it is just something I want to try and do for as long as possible.”
Following the end of the second Test, there will be a nine-day break before the third Test starts on February 15 at Rajkot. “It’s nice that we’ve got a little bit of a break because out here with conditions, heat and the work for the bowlers it does take its toll so to have a little break and a rest is good and rest the mind.”
“Either way we’d be coming out here tomorrow and swinging and trying to get the runs as quickly as possible. We’ve seen Rehan Ahmed tonight — on the scoreboard it said ‘nightwatchman’ and we were like ‘No he’s not’. We saw that in the last over. He’s walking off after bowling 20 overs and saying, ‘I want to put my pads on skipper’ and that’s just amazing confidence,” concluded Anderson.