"Sachin Tendulkar was the big one," said James Anderson, the hero of the day, who dismissed Tendulkar for the eighth time in 13 Tests. This was the most number of times any single bowler has taken Tendulkar's wicket, drawing Anderson level with Muttiah Muralitharan, who did it in 19 Tests. So does he consider Tendulkar his bunny now? (File photo: Anderson and Tendulkar)
The world's bowlers are wary of such labels where a great batsman is concerned. During a World XI tour, Garry Sobers was casually labelled Dennis Lillee's bunny. His response was a masterly 254, which Don Bradman called the finest innings seen in Australia. Anderson was not about to fall into the ‘bunny' trap, whatever the current form of Tendulkar might be. His response was an embarrassed laugh, and a simple statement: "That is something we can reminisce over after retirement," he said.
Asked if he now knew how to get Tendulkar out, Anderson was more practical: "You need to bowl a cluster of good balls at him, and hope for the best."
Of the dismissal at Eden Gardens, Anderson said, "He did look scratchy when he started, but was just beginning to settle down. He could have taken the game away from us very quickly."
Anderson also paid a tribute to his wicketkeeper Matt Prior, who finished up with the ball in the crook of his arm. "It was a great effort," he said. "On these tracks catches behind the wicket sometimes come low and quick and Prior did well to hang on."
Why the reverse swing now? Did it take this long to get used to the ball in Indian conditions? "I don't think the ball was the problem at all. We had hints of reverse swing in the last two games, but things came together here. The new ball swung, and the old ball reversed. The early start and the dew helped," explained Anderson, adding, "reverse swing is crucial".
England seamer James Anderson revealed that he started practising the art of reverse swing after watching Zaheer Khan's stupendous success during India's tour of England back in 2007.
"I remember a few years back, in the last tour in 2007, Zaheer did get a lot of reverse swing. That's when I started practising it. There is a shiny side, and if the batsman knows which side it is, it makes it a lot easier for them. It proved to be a good skill," Anderson, who got three wickets including Virat Kohli and Sachin Tendulkar told the mediapersons.
Asked about the reverse swing, he said:"We had hints of it in the last two matches. I saw the pitch and said let's go ahead. Reverse swing is crucial for seam bowlers because it keeps you in the game. I felt pretty good whole day. I think I bowled reasonably well with the new ball first thing. And enjoyed it as much as I could."
Asked about the Jonathon Trott low catch that dismissed Gambhir, he said:"Really difficult to field in the slips and hold onto these low catches. Luckily, he caught onto it in the end."
The seamer seemed happy with the Eden Gardens' 22-yard strip.
"This pitch is very abrasive. Reverse swing is a tricky art to practise. But we were able to swing the ball. There is a bit of dew because of the early start and that helps."
Asked to compare the wicket with the rank turner at Wankhede, he replied:"I don't know really. This wicket seams a little more, it's harder. You can get a little more out of it, if you are a seamer and willing to bend your back. There were a few that kept low but they were wide."
Anderson also said they were delighted to dismiss the inform Pujara early.
"Obviously, when someone is in the form, that he is you want to get him early. We were delighted to get him cheaply... Hope we can keep doing that."
(With PTI and Wisden inputs)
Story first published on: Wednesday, 05 December 2012 19:52 IST