Anderson happy with warm-up showing
James Anderson, the England fast bowler, said the team were pleased with their workout against India A after the three-day match ended in a draw. Following a century by captain Alastair Cook on the second day, Samit Patel went on to match him with an innings of 104 that pressed his Test claims to bat at No. 6, and wicketkeeper Matt Prior added a brisk fifty. Anderson then took the wickets of both India A openers before the teams shook hands.
The only setback suffered by the tourists came via an injury to Steven Finn, who was only able to bowl four overs on the first day before being forced out of the game with a thigh problem. In his absence, Tim Bresnan also pushed his case for a recall with 3 for 59 in India A's first innings, and four wickets in the match, to go with an unbeaten 33 batting at No. 8.
"I think it was pretty good," Anderson said. "It was always going to be tough after the flight and playing so soon after landing in India I think it was going to be difficult for us but I think we got what we needed to get out of the game. The bowlers got a decent bowl under the belt, a few [batsmen] got decent hits out in the middle and that's pretty much all we could expect."
Cook led the way with England's top score, as they amassed 426 in response to India A's 369. "It's to be expected, really, that's the way he is, very determined," Anderson said. "He wants to lead by example and he showed exactly how he wants to do that in this game."
Although India A did not include a frontline spinner in their XI, England still faced a workout against the turning ball, with Yuvraj Singh taking 5 for 94 with his slow left-arm spin- it was the first five-wicket haul of his first-class career. Anderson, however, said the team was not fazed at the success of Yuvraj.
"We got two guys getting hundreds, couple of fifties in there and the lower order chipped in with useful runs as well and I think that's going to be the way we're going to win Test matches out here," Anderson said. "We need guys to score hundreds, we need the lower order to help out with runs - I thought Matt Prior played brilliantly today as well. The spinners are going to get wickets against us, it's a turning pitch out there, day three of a wicket it's going to turn and we are going to lose wickets to spin."
With England set to play Mumbai A in a three-day match starting on Saturday, there are likely to be changes to the side. Nick Compton only lasted three balls in England's only innings and Joe Root could be given a chance at opener, while Stuart Broad is unlikely to be rested for two matches in a row. Finn's injury means England will have to make use of their fast-bowling depth.
"It's not ideal because you want to choose from your strongest squad but injuries happen and we're lucky that we've got a number of bowlers that can come in and do a great job for this team," Anderson said. "Graham Onions I'm sure will get a chance in the next couple of games to show what he can do. It's exciting for those guys, obviously it's unfortunate, we'd like Steven to be fit for selection but injuries do happen."
As for the obligatory response to Kevin Pietersen's return to England action, Anderson was the latest squad member to ring the bell and cry "all's well". "After all the stuff that's gone on, it's all well and good saying 'we're going to draw a line under it' but I think that's actually happened and it seems to be back to normal in the dressing room and on the field," he said.