Anderson unsure of celebrations

Hampshire Chronicle: James Anderson raised his bat after reaching a maiden 50 James Anderson raised his bat after reaching a maiden 50

England's record-breaking number 11 James Anderson admits his career-best knock against India was such a surprise he did not know how to celebrate his half-century.

Anderson, who had never before reached 50 in any competitive match, including club cricket, scored 81 as he and Joe Root put on 198 - the highest 10th-wicket stand in Test history.

Root's unbeaten 154 would usually have been the star showing of the day but, with a batting average of just over 10 and a previous best of 34, Anderson was the revelation of the day.

His reaction when reaching 50 was muted to say the least, but that is because the 31-year-old was out of his comfort zone.

"Joe came down the wicket and said 'milk it' but I didn't really know what that meant so I just sort of did the rounds with the bat," he said.

"I've seen people point at the dressing room so I did that as well but that was it.

"I did think if I was ever going to get 50 it would be a wicket like this."

Anderson is no stranger to rearguard efforts, but they usually tend to involve hanging on for grim life without any attempt to build a score of his own.

He memorably achieved the feat alongside Monty Panesar to save a draw in the first match of the 2009 Ashes and was close to pulling off an even more unlikely rescue job against Sri Lanka at Headingley last month.

In the latter he was dismissed by the penultimate ball of the match, costing England the series, and that was still fresh in the mind as he reflected on a very different type of innings.

"Obviously it was disappointing at Headingley, you do have those moments but they make you want to cherish these ones all the more," Anderson said.

"I have had a few triumphs with the bat but I'm a number 11 and not a lot is expected of my batting: that's not why I'm in the team.

"But I've have had some success in the past grinding out draws. I maybe haven't had the runs but i've had to do certain jobs for the team.

"I had really good fun today. It's probably the first time I've really enjoyed batting."

The fun and games as Anderson and Root tortured the touring bowlers ultimately proved something of a distraction from a game that seems to be heading irrevocably for a flat finish.

After Anderson finally gave way just after lunch, England had fashioned an unlikely lead of 39 and had a chance to force India's hand.

But they found little more joy in the Trent Bridge pitch that their opposite numbers and - despite losing two wickets in two balls late on - India reached stumps on 167 for three for a lead of 128.

Root attempted to talk up the chances of a stirring victory push, but it would take something akin to abdication from the Indian batsmen on a surface that looks unlikely to break up significantly even on the final day.

''Obviously we're going to have to bowl well to get some early wickets, but if we do you never know. We'll be itching in that dressing room if we do," he said.

India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was philosophical about his side's inability to part England's final pair earlier than they did, bemoaning once more a surface that has become public enemy number one in both dressing rooms.

"It was disappointing not to get that wicket in the morning because we got seven early wickets on day three and their lower order batsmen did well for them," he said.

"We thought we could have got the last wicket earlier but with this kind of wicket it is really difficult for the bowlers.

"It's on the slow side and that's why it's difficult, it's hard for the bowlers when the balls gets old and we don't expect it to turn for the spinners."

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