Slow wicket frustrates Anderson

Congleton Guardian: James Anderson experienced little joy at Trent Bridge James Anderson experienced little joy at Trent Bridge

James Anderson voiced England's frustrations after an unresponsive Trent Bridge track ensured slow progress for the home bowlers in the first Investec Test against India.

The Nottingham venue has been a happy hunting ground for the hosts in recent years, with Anderson enjoying more success than anyone but, as feared, the 2014 pitch was slow, low and largely joyless.

Having won the toss and chosen to bat, India reached stumps on 259 for four, opener Murali Vijay having batted through the day for a near flawless 122 not out.

It was a day of toil for the England attack, though Stuart Broad impressed with his control and Anderson snared two wickets to extend his record career haul at the ground to 51.

But that could not mask his, or his team-mate's, unhappiness at the recent trend for English wickets to be sapped of their traditional assistance for the seamers.

Asked if the pitch represented either a good wicket or one that was likely to help the home side win, Anderson answered bluntly: "Probably not, on both counts."

Invited to elaborate, the Lancashire bowler added: "It was frustrating really. The pitch is what it is.

"I don't make the pitch, so there's not a lot I can do about it. We're probably as frustrated as everyone else is watching.

"But there's not a lot we can do about it at this stage, we have to stick at it and try and winkle out six wickets (on Thursday) if we can."

Anderson then agreed that England were "amazing hosts" when it was put to him that they were failing to make the most of home advantage.

Nottinghamshire groundsman Steve Birks performed something of a mea culpa when he offered his own thoughts on his surface.

He refuted suggestions that docile pitches were the result of any orders from above, as has been mooted in some quarters, and instead suggested natural atmospheric factors had stymied his efforts.

"Our only instruction is to produce a good cricket wicket and, with hindsight, we may have left a bit more grass on it," he said.

"But this is the first day of a five-day Test and, while I don't expect spin to come into it, we hope it might quicken up a bit.

"We wanted to produce a pitch with pace, bounce and carry which hasn't happened unfortunately.

"There's quite a lot of moisture underneath but it's a hard surface on top which is why it's lacking pace."

Vijay, whose century was his first outside India and fourth overall, had a slightly different view of the pitch, though he spoke with the privilege of a batsman whose side have yet to take the field.

"It's a good wicket. It's coming onto the bat really well," he said.

"After lunch, the ball was 'reversing' a bit. Anderson and Broad got the ball moving a bit, b ut we expected that, so we are prepared.

"We just wanted to get a good start for the team.

"Once you get the rhythm going, you know how to go about it - and I really enjoyed it.

"I just want to cash in on this opportunity in England. It's a big series, and something I dreamt of when I was young.

"Once you get set, I just want to make it count and capitalise rather than playing flashy strokes."

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