James Anderson still believes he can get Virat Kohli out to win the titanic Edgbaston Test for England – simply because he believes that even the India captain is not invincible.
Kohli has looked just that at times over the past two days, and was still unbeaten on 43 at stumps on day three as he again proved England’s stumbling block.
Anderson would have had him for just 21 in his first-innings 149, though, if Dawid Malan had held a regulation slip catch – and England’s all-time leading wicket-taker is keeping the faith he can get his man before India make the 84 runs they need to win here after reaching 110-5.
Asked if it will be a case of dismissing Kohli on the fourth morning, or going 1-0 down in the series, Anderson said: “More than likely, yes.
“We’ve just got to give it everything we’ve got in the morning for the first 15-20 overs – leave absolutely nothing out there.
“It’s a really exciting place to be, because you know we could do something special by winning this – it is such a close Test match.
“So we’ll go to bed dreaming about getting Kohli out first thing.”
Anderson insists it is reality, not fantasy, that he can stop Kohli.
“I’ve been encouraged the way I’ve bowled at him in this game so far,” he added.
“I found the edge a few times in the first innings – and on another day I could have got him for 20. If that happens, then we’re not talking about how brilliant he is.
“You can’t drop Virat Kohli on 21, because he’s one of the best players in the world, and he’ll capitalise on that – which he did.
“But we’ve just got to go away and know we can get him.
“No one is invincible in world cricket. We can get him out, and we’ll be trying to do that in the morning.”
England are still in with a chance largely thanks to the all-round contribution of 20-year-old Sam Curran – who followed his first-innings four-wicket haul with a maiden Test half-century to inspire the recovery second time round from 87-7 to 180 all out.
It’s a really exciting place to be, because you know we could do something special by winning this – it is such a close Test match. So we’ll go to bed dreaming about getting Kohli out first thing.
Asked if he can credit how quickly Curran has risen to the challenge in just his second Test, Anderson said: “I can believe it, yes, because he’s a really impressive lad.
“I remember me as a 20-year-old, and I didn’t know what was going on ... I was in awe of everyone.
“But he knows exactly what he’s doing, how to set batsmen up, and we saw he has talent with the bat as well.
“He’s obviously got a little bit of fight in him as well – to go out in that situation and show the guts and determination he did to get the team back into the match.
“At the time it looked like we were down and out.
“I thought it was just brilliant to see that from such a young guy.”
India’s Ishant Sharma put England in trouble with three wickets in an over either side of lunch, on his way to figures of 5-51.
He may need to add some tailend runs too to get his team over the line, and is confident – after a half-century already for Sussex this season – that he can do so.
“The good thing is I have scored 50 in county cricket for Sussex , so I am just carrying that confidence in my batting,” said Ishant.
“I actually hope that they don’t need me, and Virat and Dinesh (Karthik) will do the job for us in the morning.”
England physio Craig de Weymarn has had an operation on his jaw after taking a blow to his face at nets before the start of play on Friday.