India were bowled out for a paltry 153 on Thursday at the fourth Test at Old Trafford thanks to a brilliant performance by opening bowlers Stuart Broad and Jimmy Anderson before England reached 113-3 in reply by close of play.
A lost toss and a rain delay played straight into England’s hands when they were put in the field by India in perfect conditions to swing the ball. The sideways movement both in the air and off the pitch was evident as the Indians were bowled out for just 153 runs before tea.
This was not, however, a question of Indian capitulation, with all of the genuine top order batsmen removed by fantastic deliveries by Broad and Anderson as India collapsed to 8-4.
They did little more than bowl a good length just outside of off stump and the pitch did the rest; the ball consistently doing just enough to catch the edge of the bat rather than flying past it.
England managed to bowl yesterday as they should have bowled at Lord's, and it was as successful as the critics and pundits who have been asking them to bowl fuller said it would be.
Pitch not unplayable
The pitch at Old Trafford was not unplayable, though, as the England innings showed. Yes, the advantage is slightly tipped towards the ball in the balance but England showed, in both their batting and their bowling, exactly how to play on this pitch.
Alastair Cook’s side finally look to be gaining confidence and barring any disastrous batting collapse this morning, England will be very hopeful of winning this Test, providing the traditional Manchester weather does not get in their way.