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Now, it’s a point of no return

James Anderson & Ravindra Jadeja

London: Stung by India’s Level III charge, which is rarely slapped, against James Anderson, England have retaliated on two fronts.

While team manager Phil Neale filed a Level II charge against Ravindra Jadeja, captain Alastair Cook accused India of resorting to an unpleasant “tactic.”

Basically, that the charge against spearhead Anderson was a means of possibly getting him banned and, thereby, taking him out of the equation for a part of the five-Test series.

More bad blood, then.

But that’s not all. The mood in the India camp, after all, is one of “enough is enough.”

Angrez logon ka raj khatam ho gaya hai... Ended in 1947. They can’t get away with whatever they want to do...”

Those strong-on-ammunition words from a senior member mirror the thinking within the touring party. On the Anderson issue, that is.

All eyes are on the International Cricket Council, which is headed by Narayanswamy Srinivasan.

India’s contention is that Anderson pushed and abused Jadeja, when the players came off for lunch on Day II at Trent Bridge.

England’s stand is that Jadeja advanced towards Anderson in an aggressive and threatening manner.

The belated move by England has amused the touring party. A member of the team management even quipped: “This is like filing counter-FIRs back in India... Tu ne FIR kiya, to main bhi karoon ga!”

A top source in the ECB told The Telegraph: “Anderson acted in self-defence, when Jadeja made an aggressive move... He appeared to push him away with both hands. But for that provocation, there would have been no incident.”

Not surprisingly, the India camp had an entirely different version: That, actually, Jadeja restrained himself after being pushed.

There’s no CCTV footage, by the way.

India, however, are understood to have lined up Gautam Gambhir and Ravichandran Ashwin as “witnesses.”

A well-placed source indicated that captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni and coach Duncan Fletcher “insisted” that a Level III charge be made against Anderson.

Rather unusually, Fletcher “informed” somebody in the ECB that India had gone to the ICC. That was on Monday, four days after the charge against Anderson was made.

The ECB was caught napping and a “dialogue” with the Board of Control for Cricket in India came to nothing.

As a level III charge can be placed directly before the ICC, India didn’t have to keep Match Referee David Boon in the loop.

Boon, though, must be feeling rather embarrassed.

The incident has taken much of the focus away from the second Test, at Lord’s (which is celebrating its bicentenary), from Thursday.

A shame, really.

Captains Dhoni and Cook spoke on the eve of the clash. Expectedly, both were grilled over the incident.

Excerpts...

DHONI: It’s not something that we have done... We can’t add anything to what was sent to the ICC. It’s for them to decide what will be done...

We talk a lot about the spirit of cricket and there are guidelines to be followed. Anderson crossed the line...

Someone has to back off at the right time and Jadeja did so. He addressed the issue in the appropriate manner. Usually, we have been at the receiving end... Somebody starts something, we retaliate and get fined...

I’d like to make sure that the remainder of the series is played in the right spirit...

We want players to be aggressive, to say a few things, but it is very important not to cross the boundaries... I’ll do what is in my control and move ahead.

COOK: We’re surprised it has come to this situation... A big mountain has been made out of a molehill...

I certainly believe James’s version and the team is rallying behind him. He’s a stalwart in our team. It’s probably a tactic from India (to get Anderson suspended). Comes from there...

Going forward, I hope the relations won’t get soured... Both MS and I have the responsibility to make sure we control our players...

We can’t let this be a distraction. In the heat of the moment, when emotions are up, there could be situations which people regret later on...

I haven’t thought about speaking to MS about it... It’s such a strange situation, strange circumstances.

Meanwhile, late in the day, the wicket for the second Test looked distinctly green. From a distance, it seemed to have some moisture too.

Bound to confuse the captains somewhat. Not that wicket-making is an “exact science.”