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November 29, 2012
James Anderson has said a desire to prove their critics wrong was at the heart of England's improved performance in the second Test in Mumbai. Anderson, a member of the team that was beaten by nine wickets at Ahmedabad before winning by 10 wickets in Mumbai, accepted that England had "slipped up" in the first Test but felt that the motivation to "prove a point" had inspired them in the second.
"The confidence was always there," Anderson said. "We just slipped up in the first innings at Ahmedabad, which cost us the game. We performed much better in the second innings there and that gave us more confidence moving forward to Mumbai.
"The fact is we really wanted to prove a point as well. It was quite easy for everyone to say we were going to lose 4-0 after that first Test, but we kept believing that we could actually cause an upset in this series. We needed a couple of guys to stand up, and we had three or four who really stood up and gave a great account of themselves in Mumbai and ended up winning the game for us. Moving on, we definitely feel like we can keep improving. I know a couple of guys made the majority of our runs at Mumbai, so hopefully throughout the series more people can contribute. Maybe the seamers will take a couple more wickets, too."
Anderson rated the Mumbai win as memorable an overseas victory as he had experienced in his time in the team. Not only did it show that England could bounce back from a dispiriting defeat, but it showed they were coming to terms with their issues against with spin bowling and their issues playing in Asian conditions.
"We were written off after the first Test," Anderson said. "You looked on Twitter and everyone was saying 4-0, it's going to be 4-0. We knew it was going to difficult. Then we lost the toss on a pitch that should have suited them down to the ground - and we out-batted them and out-bowled them. I thought it was an incredible effort. It's certainly up there for me as one of the best we've ever had.
"The victory in Adelaide in 2010 was good. But that pitch had a little bit of seam movement in it, which has been our strength over the past few years. We're not supposed to be able to play spin, we're not supposed to be able to play on the subcontinent, and we proved to everyone that we can do it. It feels better than Adelaide. And it even feels better than the Test we won here in 2006. The guys involved - guys like me and Monty Panesar and Kevin Pietersen say it feels better than that. Now we can really use it as a springboard and hopefully push on for the rest of the series."
Anderson also admitted that he had tried to offer some encouragement to his fast-bowling colleague, Stuart Broad. Broad has failed to take a wicket in either of the first two Tests and could well lose his place to Steven Finn for the third Test at Ahmedabad. But, whatever his current form, Anderson remains a believer in Broad's ability.
"It's difficult," Anderson said. "If you're not on top of your game out here, you're going to go for runs and that's what's happened to Broady. But he's a strong character. He's been through this before - we've all been through it - but he's a strong enough character to bounce back.
"We knew it was going to be tough series for seamers. Anything outside off stump is pretty much a free hit for them. But we've got to try to stay positive about it. We know we can still play a part in the series and we've got a job to do, even if it's just holding an end up for a spinner. We've still got a job to do."
England fly to Kolkata on Friday where they will be joined by Ian Bell, who has returned to India after a spell of paternity leave, and James Tredwell, who has joined the squad as cover for the two senior spinners, Monty Panesar and Graeme Swann. Stuart Meaker, who has been with the Test squad as cover, will rejoin the England Performance Programme squad after Finn proved his fitness playing for an EPP match.
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