India, Dec. 5 -- It is hard for fast bowlers to come out and bowl in conditions that the sub-continent presents. But that doesn't mean that we undermine their role. The pacers should take the conditions as a challenge and give it their best. The English seamers, on the Day One of the third Test, showed us how to make full use of the conditions. There was reverse swing on offer and they made best use of it. Jimmy Anderson bowled beautifully and he can be dangerous when the ball is doing a bit. Steven Finn might not have the wickets in the column, but he made a huge difference to the bowling attack, providing ideal support to Anderson.
Once again, the English bowlers read the wicket well. The wicket at Eden provided assistance to both - seam and slow bowlers. It was all about understanding the conditions and performing well as a unit.
The seamers and spinners stepped up, and what this has done is put England in a commanding position. Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar have formed a lethal combination. Two quality spinners, bowling well in tandem, have set this England team apart.
Not a setback
Losing the toss in India is generally a setback for skippers, but it seems to be working well for Alistair Cook and he will be thanking his bowlers.
The ball will do a bit on the second morning as well and England will hope to keep the first day's good work going and get India out quickly.
The England bowlers were on top but the India batsmen should have applied themselves better. Prior to this Test, there were many people questioning Sachin Tendulkar's place in the side. Had he not been around, the India side would have been all out by now.
Every cricketer goes through tough phases and I think he should be backed to do well at this point of time. He played well for his 76 and did the rebuilding job.
Rather than questioning his place in the side, they should look answers to the bigger question - Who will replace him? Is there a replacement ready? The Indians have failed as a unit in the last few innings, so why blame an individual?
The writer is a former England captain.
Published by HT Syndication with permission from Hindustan Times.