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James Anderson has become the bowler to take Sachin Tendulkar's wicket most times in Tests. Here we plot Anderson's career by looking back at Sachin's nine lives
George Dobell in Nagpur
December 14, 2012
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Matches: India v England at Nagpur
Series/Tournaments: England tour of India
One of the great fallacies of cricket is that each wicket is given the same worth in the record books. But while the dismissal of Chris Martin may rate the same as that of Don Bradman at first glance, players will always take more satisfaction in performing well against the best opposition.
James Anderson has now dismissed Sachin Tendulkar, the leading run-scorer in the history of the game, nine times in Test cricket. Nobody has taken his wicket more and India have never won a Test in which Anderson has dismissed Tendulkar. Perhaps Anderson's record is somewhat misleading, as Tendulkar had been a highly successful international player for nearly 20 years before he came up against Anderson and may already have been in decline. He remained a fine player, though, and a prized wicket for any bowler.
"I know I have a decent record getting Sachin out," Anderson says in his recently published autobiography, Jimmy: My Story, "but the funny thing is I really do not like bowling at him."
Here we tell the story of Anderson's career through the wickets of Tendulkar.
Dismissal 1: Mumbai, March 2006
Anderson had the best of the encounter when the two first met in Test cricket. Tendulkar, driving away from his body, edged to Geraint Jones behind the stumps for just 1 in India's first innings and England went on to win the match - their first Test win in India since 1985 - by 212 runs. It was Anderson's first Test in more than a year. While he had made an excellent impression as a 20-year-old in 2003 - he took a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe on debut and another against South Africa later in the summer - he had lost his way amid efforts by England's bowling coach Troy Cooley to remodel his action. He did not play another Test until November, either, as the attempt to bowl with an action he found unnatural resulted in him being diagnosed with a stress fracture in his back.
Dismissal 2: Lord's, July 2007
The resignation of Duncan Fletcher as England coach in April 2007 left England in the hands of Peter Moores and the captain, Michael Vaughan. Anderson had abandoned attempts to remodel his action and was grooving his old one in county cricket. He returned at Lord's against India and the wicket of Tendulkar, playing slightly across a full, inswinging delivery, was one of five victims in the first innings as he swung the ball both ways at a lively pace. It was quite a comeback - he learned later it was the first time that a bowler had dismissed Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly in the same innings. But it could not help England win the Test, as rain helped India cling on with nine wickets down nearly 100 short of their target,
Dismissals 3 and 4: The Oval, August 2007
Anderson dismissed Tendulkar in both innings, but it was not enough to prevent a drawn game which saw India clinch the series 1-0. In the first innings Tendulkar, batting beautifully on 82, was caught at first slip as he pushed at one outside off stump. In the second innings he was bowled by one that nipped back and took his inside edge on its way on to the stumps. By now Anderson, given greater responsibility by Moores, was given the new ball and choice of ends and was developing into the leader of the England attack. Anderson writes in his autobiography: "Some people claimed that Tendulkar's eyes had gone but that was absolute nonsense."
Dismissal 5: Mohali, December 2008
England's Test series against India was briefly delayed, and almost cancelled after terrorist attacks on Mumbai but it went ahead under heavy security. "On game days we would set off at ridiculous o'clock from our hotel in Chandigarh and during that hour-long trek we would not be able to see ten yards in front of our faces, it was that foggy," Anderson records in his autobiography. In New Zealand at the start of the year, he had been preferred to the likes of Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison as Moores made it clear he was the man he saw as the future of England's Test bowling attack. He dismissed Tendulkar, caught at gully, in the drawn Test. But India won the two-match series 1-0, with Tendulkar having produced a vintage century at Chennai to help his side chase down 387 to win. A few days later, the rebellion of Kevin Pietersen, then England's captain, against Moores was household news, leading to both men losing their jobs.
Dismissal 6: Lord's, July 2011
With Anderson having played a key part in England winning the Ashes at home and abroad, he was now established as one of the world's leading swing bowlers. Here he dismissed Tendulkar in the second innings for 12 with another that nipped back and beat a tentative forward prod as part of a five-wicket haul that helped England take a lead in the four-match series they would go on to win 4-0. This dismissal may remain particularly painful to Tendulkar. It was his last innings at Lord's and ended his hopes of ever getting on to the honours board at the ground. Anderson rose to No. 2 on the official ICC rankings of Test bowlers after the game, behind only Dale Steyn. It is Anderson's highest position to date.
Dismissal 7: Trent Bridge, August 2011 Tendulkar, batting with great determination on 56 and holding together the increasingly desperate India innings, was beaten by yet another delivery that nipped back sharply and, leaving the ball, was dismissed lbw. England ended the series as the No. 1-ranked Test side with Anderson gaining increasing recognition for his ability to swing the ball both ways at will, either with conventional swing or with reverse. His ability to hide the ball, learned from watching Zaheer Khan in action in India in 2008, rendered it an even more potent weapon with Tendulkar, now a player in decline, among those to struggle to read which way the ball would swing.
Dismissal 8: December 2012, Kolkata
Anderson produced one of his most accomplished performances in a memorable England win, generating substantial reverse swing and claiming six wickets in the match on a surface offering little. Tendulkar, having battled to 76 - his highest score in 11 months and 10 Test innings - prodded at a good one and was caught at the wicket. 2012 had not been a great year for Anderson. He had suffered far more than his share of dropped catches as England struggled in the slips and had seen his batting colleagues squander excellent bowling performances, in the UAE in particular. Perhaps there were times, at The Oval against South Africa and in Ahmedabad, where Anderson appeared to have lost a little bit of pace, but he never lost his control and remained as consistent and skilful as ever.
Dismissal 9: December 2012, Nagpur
This may have been the wicket that convinced Tendulkar it was time to retire. The ball, keeping low on the slow, uneven surface, cut back sharply and took Tendulkar's bat on the way into the stumps. It was another fine spell of bowling on a dead pitch offering him little and gave England an excellent chance of sealing a first series win in India since 1984-85. It is surely no coincidence that, since Anderson was elevated to the role of 'attack leader' England have broken long winless spells in Australia, risen - albeit briefly - to No. 1 in the Test rankings and have produced their best performance in a series in India in almost three decades. Anderson has been present throughout and, aged 30, currently has the fitness, the skill and the experience to pose problems to any batsman on any surface.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfoFeeds: George Dobell
© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
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