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England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl, 5th day

James Anderson - not finished yet

Not since the first Test of last summer's Ashes has James Anderson been as effective for England. With the possibility of suspension hanging over him, he restated his value

Jarrod Kimber

July 31, 2014

Comments: 14 | Text size: A | A
Chappell: Anderson's spell his best since Trent Bridge 2013

When the ball reached 50-overs old in India's first innings, James Anderson had somehow bowled more than a third of the overs in a five-man attack: 18 of the first 50. It was a wicket for clever, skillful bowlers, and Alastair Cook had to keep going back to Jimmy.

It was in his 17th, with an older ball and a set potential superstar at the other end, that Anderson took his second wicket. Cook was right to use overuse him. Many times he has been right to overuse Jimmy. Like at Trent Bridge last year, when England only won the Test because Anderson bowled until his soul bled out of him.

Anderson was England's Man of the Series against Sri Lanka, and Man of the Match at Trent Bridge against India, largely due to his batting. Yet, none of the four previous Tests this summer were anywhere near his best. He's bowled too short too often, and his aversion to bowling at the stumps has frustrated many. Those four Tests were preceded by nine of the worst of his career. It was like that long spell of bowling in Nottingham never ended.

James Anderson struck an early blow for England England v India, 3rd Investec Test, Ageas Bowl, 2nd day, July 28, 2014
James Anderson repeatedly made breakthroughs when England needed them © PA Photos

The four Tests after that in the 2013 Ashes, he was barely a factor. And in Australia, at times he would take early wickets, then Brad Haddin would come in, Anderson couldn't muster up another special effort and England were done for. It was at its absolute worst at the WACA. Stuart Broad was off injured, Australia already owned the game. Anderson had to bowl, and he did it well enough to take the edge of Chris Rogers. Matt Prior and Cook both made a mess of it. Then Australia just annihilated Anderson, the final slap was from George Bailey, who might as well have broken Anderson's arm.

But Anderson wasn't finished by Bailey. He might be a grumpy SOB at times, but that has its advantages and he has worked hard at getting back to his best. It has been slow, and he has not always been a match-winner this summer, but he was at least a factor. Here, he had the advantage of a couple of extra days off as England batted. He had the advantage of scoreboard pressure for only the second time in over a year. And he also had the motivation, as he may not be playing the next match.

At almost every single opportunity in this match, Anderson moved his team towards victory. His wicket of Shikhar Dhawan before stumps ended England's perfect first two days well. His wicket of Virat Kohli - in his 17th over, with the old ball - continued their stranglehold of him and ended India's strongest-looking partnership. His wicket of Ravindra Jadeja ended any chances of a Dhoni-Jadeja happy-slap rearguard funfest. His wicket of MS Dhoni ended the chance of one of those annoying tail partnerships England have been so useless at dealing with. And he ended all hopes of an Indian draw with the final morning wickets of Rohit Sharma and Dhoni.

Had India not queued up to jump off the Moeen cliff, he probably could have finished with a ten-wicket match haul. But, for once, he wasn't needed. And England and Anderson looked better for it.

Instead of worrying about overusing Anderson next Test, England may be worrying if they'll get to use him at all. That is for another Australian, the judicial commissioner Gordon Lewis, to decide on Friday.

Jarrod Kimber was 50% of the Two Chucks, and is the mind responsible for cricketwithballs.com

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Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 7, 2014, 0:59 GMT)

How did Anderson fare in Australia? He knows how to bowl his mediums in the perpetually cloudy England, on green tops, but on Australia's zippy pitches, where actual fast bowlers can destroy actual entire administrations and end careers, he did nothing but get hit for 28 in an over.

Anderson's last 108 wickets have come at 29.06. Solid, but not great. Fact.

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 7, 2014, 0:59 GMT)

@dr.thirsty - Anderson chirps non-stop, review the last month of embarrassing articles pertaining to such. Your figures are of note, sure, but the fact is Clarke is a great player, Anderson will be forgotten. England simply do not produce greats of the game, aside from the South African legend KP and your home-grown Beefy, who I'll not hear a bad word said about.

Fatty Flintoff bowled at 33 and batted at 32 (ridiculously overrated), barely ever scored 100s and took 2 of his 5-fers in the dark. And yet, because he played with a bit more excitement than that of grass growing, he's lauded as a great because he occasionally played a shot instead of trying to bore everyone out of the game.

@lizzzzzzz1558 - Lee averaged 30.81 - and yet you call him overrated. Fine by me, I never rated him aside from his first year, wherein he sliced up about 50 wickets at 18. Amusingly though, comparing averages with Anderson, you thus cast the same shadow over Anderson in your statistical assessment

Posted by SoyQuearns on (August 7, 2014, 0:49 GMT)

@markatnotts - Lee's first 50 wickets were at an average of about 18, and he was young and extremely fast, so it is easily understood why the stuck with him for a long while, then by the end he had a renaissance and bowled well. I agree he was kept for too long.

Anderson has flatlined around the 30 average for the last 3-4 years. He did improve, markedly from a 38 average (as one should), but then has sat around this figure. Those, too, are facts.

@liz1558 - refer above. This isn't about Brett Lee though, it is about the fact Anderson is lauded as a great and has an average of 30. If we want to split hairs on all the mediocre pace bowlers England have trundled out over the last 2 decades we'd be here forever, you don't want to play that game.

As a rule Kasper and Bichel only played in the event of injury to others. Often the selectors would prolong their selections if they performed, but as a general rule they didn't. Reiffel

Posted by dr.thirsty on (August 4, 2014, 3:23 GMT)

With reference to SoyQuearns, I don't think Anderson has really had much chance to sledge Clarke given that Clarke's innings against him generally don't last long. Jimmy has taken Clarkes wicket 9 times (including 3 clean bowled) at an average of just over 18. The only player to have lost his wicket to Anderson more times than Clarke is Peter Siddle! Tendulkar was also cleaned up 9 times by Jimmy, but at least averaged 30. Tendulkar was a great - Clarke is Anderson's bunny.

Posted by markatnotts on (August 2, 2014, 14:37 GMT)

@SoyQuearns, so why Kasprowicz and Lee play for Oz in that period? The hard cold fact is despite a poor start in Test cricket Anderson has done very well for several years now.

Posted by MaruthuDelft on (August 2, 2014, 12:30 GMT)

Surely Anderson is a very very good bowler in England. And he won the Ashes Down Under the previous time. His opening spell I think in the 4th test decisively turned the course of the series. He helped England beat India in its own turf in the last tour. But his good performances away from England are too few. He is not really a great bowler.

Posted by liz1558 on (August 1, 2014, 8:32 GMT)

@sourQuearns- I seem to remember that Brett Lee averaged about 32 - vastly overrated - yet he played over 90 Tests.

Posted by sasisurineni on (August 1, 2014, 7:01 GMT)

England will be in big trouble if Anderson is not playing. Big releif for India!

Posted by Between_the_Inningses on (August 1, 2014, 5:32 GMT)

People have to understand that "sledging" is a part of the game. You either face (and score big) or perish. You can't go to court for sledging!

Posted by   on (August 1, 2014, 5:12 GMT)

I don't see the issue with sledging to be honest (as long as it's not aimed at your race, religion or family). International cricket players GROW UP with sledging, it's part of their game. If a certain player or team can't handle it, that's THEIR problem. You can't tell a boxer to go into a fight without a certain preparation music/ pep talk/ sparring partner. Why should another professional sportsman be expected to take the 'aggression' out of their game if it's not crossing the lines outlined above?

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