England v India: James Anderson & Chris Woakes expose tourists’ techniques

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England v India: James Anderson & Chris Woakes expose tourists’ techniques

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Highlights: Anderson stars in rain-delayed day as India crumble

The story of what happened on the second day at Lord’s was simple.

England put the ball in the right place and exposed the frailties of India batsmen not knowing what to do against it. That the tourists were bowled out for 107 in less than 36 overs reflects this.

The nightmare scenario for India is coming up against that sort of bowling in these conditions, which are ideal for James Anderson and Chris Woakes.

The pitch for the second Test was under cover for two days, there were clouds overhead – it was the perfect mixture to produce the conditions that England bowl so well in.

Four years ago here against India, they didn’t get it right, and they lost by 95 runs on a pitch that was suited to their bowling.

Today, they got it right.

Anderson led the way, dismissing Murali Vijay and KL Rahul early on with some fine swing bowling and finishing with 5-20 – his 26th five-wicket haul for England.

But Woakes was near perfect today. He would have been anxious coming back into the side after an extended injury lay-off, replacing the absent Ben Stokes so it was great for him to be presented with conditions like this.

He is a much-improved cricketer and it is good for England to have him back in the side. It was the right decision to select him ahead of Moeen Ali, especially as he dismissed captain India Virat Kohli.

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Woakes and Anderson bowled beautiful, full lengths. That is so important on a day like this: bowl full, try and get the batsman coming forward, and let the ball swing.

As a batsman, you have got to play straight, play late and do not go pushing out with your bat. You cannot create any gaps, and this is where India’s batsmen got it wrong.

Murali Vijay’s stroke for an opening batsman was just grotesque. He gave himself no chance at all. It was a lovely ball from Anderson, full and swinging away – but if you’re playing at that with just a quarter of your bat, what chance are you giving yourself?

He was trying to flick it through mid-wicket – it was ridiculous. You have got to play straight.

Anderson dismisses Vijay with fifth ball

Dinesh Karthik was similar. He was bowled through the gate by Sam Curran, but that delivery should be hitting his pads, not his stumps. If your footwork is not correct, if you are pushing that bat forward and creating a gap, you are not going to last very long.

In fact, the only way you are going to last is if England keep dropping their catches, which is becoming a big concern.

They are dropping a quarter of the chances they are getting and, while that did not hurt them too much today – Kohli and Hardik Pandya were both put down by Jos Buttler only then to be taken by the same man next ball – it is not going to help them win matches.

India are an interesting side. This was the 44th Test in a row that they have changed their team and that is difficult for a player; you need to know there is confidence in you.

If it is a revolving door policy, that does not help very much. India made the decision last week that Shikhar Dhawan is going to open the batting, then they drop him after one game, move the number three up to open and bring in a new number three.

Shuffling around the top order, that is unsettling in its own way. Kohli is a tinkerer as a captain: he is a tinkerer in the field and he is a tinkerer with his team. That is his way of being in charge.

The changes he has made to his bowling line-up may still prove to be smart. Kuldeep Yadav, the left-arm wrist spinner, is a sensible pick, but he and India are going to have to work hard to dig themselves out of trouble in the remaining three days.

The forecast is for a sunny day on Saturday, but the pitch will still be damp and there should be some movement there.

England will have to knuckle down, show some determination, get their technique sorted out and build a big lead. From there, they should win the game.

Jonathan Agnew was speaking to BBC Sport’s Amy Lofthouse.

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