The Ashes 2013-14 December 16, 2013

Jimmy Anderson's Australian lament

James Anderson has been one of the most skilful bowlers of the modern age, but when George Bailey thrashed 28 off one over it was a reminder that Australia has not always been kind to him
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At the top of his mark at Trent Bridge, there was a broken man. Jimmy Anderson had bowled and bowled and bowled, and somehow Australia still hadn't lost. There seemed to be a limp, but maybe you just expected one. Australia failed to pass 300, but he bowled more than 50 overs in the match. As Haddin and Pattinson inched Australia to victory, he was brought back.

His physical demeanor was more like a man who had just completed 10 straight Tests, not someone in the first of ten. He took the wicket of Haddin, and won the game. It was his tenth wicket of the game. He beat Australia on his own.

Since then, he's taken 19 wickets at 47. Since then, across both series, England are 3-2 down.

****

The ball at the WACA is a on a length outside offstump. George Bailey leans back and slices it past a diving slip to the third man boundary. Australia are 479 ahead.

****

Jimmy Anderson is no Dale Steyn. Dale Steyn fans will tell you about this for hours on end. As if Anderson should be ashamed of any good press he gets that isn't lavished on Steyn. Dale Steyn is a god, a myth, created from a tree struck by lightning and found in a crater in small town America. Anderson is a skilful, smart bowler. There have few men ever in the entire history of our planet as good as Dale Steyn; Anderson is not one of them.

Anderson is, however, a supreme mover of the cricket ball.

Pictures of his wrist position should be X-rated. When he gets the ball to swing, it moves as if operated by a remote control. And he can bowl a ball so good that only the off stump can stop it.

The ball goes where he wants it, and when he is at his absolute best, he can move the batsmen around the crease as well. When Robin Peterson was sent out at No 3 for South Africa in the Champions Trophy semi-final, Jimmy Anderson put on a clinic of swing bowling.

Coming around the wicket to the left-handed Peterson, he bowled four straight outswingers to him. A fair skill in itself. But each was gloriously out of reach. All within a few inches of each other. The length and movement meant Peterson could only leave them. Peterson edged towards each ball, so while he started batting on leg stump, he ended up on off stump. The moment he was in front of the stumps, from around the wicket the wicket Anderson swung the ball the other way, Peterson was out lbw.

That's not good swing bowling, that's a supervillain.

****

The ball is full and lovely. George Bailey smashes it back over long off, past the rope, boundary and into the sightscreen area. Australia are 485 ahead.

****

Anderson had to fight his way in. He's not built like a fast bowler. He's built like a greyhound. He's not massively tall, he doesn't have the fast bowler's big behind, and his shoulders are like that of any mortal.

His action is also unconventional. He doesn't actually watch the ball. His head almost disappears. He's partly front on, not fully front on or fully side on. His front foot goes off on a random angle like it is ignoring the delivery. He shouldn't really work.

But he was fast, and had an outswinger. So he made it to the top level. That is enough to take some wickets, but pace isn't always enough unless you're scarily quick. And top batsmen can handle consistent outswing, and sometimes the ball doesn't swing.

It was Troy Cooley who tried to fix Jimmy Anderson. The man who helped turn the '05 bowling attack into a machine. But Cooley's ways go in both directions. Mitchell Johnson produced his best deliveries under Cooley, but also lost his way. Kabir Ali never made it under Cooley despite blatantly obvious natural talent. And for Jimmy Anderson, his time with Cooley went very wrong.

With Anderson, any bowling coach could see the flaws. Some will try and fix them, some will suggest he's doing well even with them. Cooley tried to fix them. They were afraid Anderson would end up with stress fractures in his back. They changed his action - and Anderson ended with stress fractures in his back.

It's not that surprising that the scientific method didn't work for him. Even now, Anderson's run up is not done with a tape measure. It's the same run up he has had since he was a 15 year old back in Burnley. When marking it, he starts midway between the crease and then leaps his first step, walks his next 13, and then leaps his last one. It's about as unscientific as anything in Team England, it's the opposite of eating kale or psychological tests.

****

The ball is full at leg stump. George Bailey moves his front leg and flicks it to deep backward square and scrambles back for two. Australia are 487 ahead.

****

At home, Anderson can monster teams. Swing bowlers from other countries drool when they think about England; Anderson had the good fortune to be born there. Whatever it is about the climate that makes the ball swing, it's certainly helped him.

He was pretty good when he had an outswinger, but a few years in he had a killer inswinger as well. Around this time he also mastered the art of hitting the seam when he needed too. That makes you a pretty good bowler on bowler-friendly wickets.

But in recent years he's been as good in the UAE and India. A series England lost, and one they won from behind. For a swing bowler to succeed in India or the UAE, that's not about seam up and get it in the right areas, that's bowling intelligence. The ability to learn new tricks, and things that will work on unresponsive pitches, is how Anderson helped England get to number one.

When he was called the most skilful fast bowler on earth, the Steyn fans took great fun in comparing the records of him and Anderson. But Steyn is the best fast bowler on earth, by a distance. Anderson is the most skilful.

Anderson has even learnt from other bowlers who aren't as good as Dale Steyn. From Stuart Clark and Mohammad Asif, he learnt the wobble ball. A ball that misbehaves because even the bowler is not sure what it is going to do. Perfect for flat pitches and boring interludes. The sort of ball that bad bowlers deliver by mistake.

From Zaheer Khan, he has learnt that sometimes on flat pitches you need to bowl faster, not slower. The modern wisdom is to bowl within yourself, with the occasional quicker ball. But Zaheer was the master of sometimes bowling as fast as his body would allow just to make something happen. For both of them, it often does.

Zaheer also bowled reverse swing. Anderson spent time watching him doing that as well. Then he learned the art himself, even adding the hide-the-ball style that Zaheer and many sub-continental masters had used before. It means that the outswing bowler can wobble one off a flat pitch, or reverse one to cause damage. He has come a long way from the young kid who just swing it away for a few overs.

When he was called the most skilful fast bowler on earth, the Steyn fans took great fun in comparing the records of him and Anderson. But Steyn is the best fast bowler on earth, by a distance. Anderson is the most skilful. One is superman, and is enhanced by the earth's yellow sun. The other is Batman, flawed but really clever with endless resources that he uses to shield himself from the fact he's not an alien with endless power.

****

The ball is a leg-stump length ball. George Bailey drop kicks it to deep backward square for a boundary. Australia are 491 ahead.

****

There is a theory that in Anderson can't bowl in Australia. Reputations are hard to change. And the Ashes of 2006-7 left lasting impressions for many Australians. That was a series where Anderson found five wickets at over 80 apiece. Somehow it seemed worse than those figures suggest. They next time he stepped on a plane headed for Australia he must have paused a bit himself.

In 2010-11, he took 24 wickets at 26. There were no five-wicket hauls, although with Australian wickets falling so fast, it was hard for him to collect them all. He just spearheaded an attack, that was mostly without Broad, into completely and utterly smashing Australia consistently.

The series was 0-0 on that morning of Adelaide. The run out of Simon Katich was annoying, but it shouldn't have meant the end of all happiness for Australia. Jimmy Anderson did. He dragged Ponting into playing the wrong shot at the wrong ball. He tempted Clarke into playing a stupid shot at a beautiful swinging ball. And he allowed Watson to find gully with a normal Watson drive. He only took one more wicket that innings, and two more in the second innings, but that start to the game was something Australia could not recover from.

In Melbourne, after England's shock loss in Perth, he took four wickets in Australia's series-losing 98 on Boxing Day. The wickets of Clarke, Hussey, Smith and Johnson: not a tail-ender between them. Any chance of a comeback, or even a less than embarrassing total, was gone with one Anderson spell.

But that was by far Anderson's best against Australia, home or away. During 2009 his bowling was mute, only 12 wickets. His last Ashes had the glorious start at Trent Bridge, but England won the series with him contributing only an occasional really good spell. And this one, well, it's been better than 2006-7, but that's about it.

The Australians and Anderson don't like each other. Anderson has enjoyed the good times over the Aussies, and his hand-over-mouth sledging technique gets to them. The 'broken f*cken arm' comment shouldn't be looked at as a one-time thing. There is almost no time when Anderson is out on the ground when he isn't having words with someone.

The Australians probably enjoy it; they just enjoy it more when they're winning. As Anderson does.

****

The ball is very full and very straight. George Bailey slogs it into the first few rows of the crowd with a slap. Australia are 497 ahead.

****

If Anderson were to retire now, which is unlikely given his age of 31, he would retire with a bowling average of 30. It seems very high for a bowler who at times has beheaded Michael Clarke's off stumps with balls that were as deadly as anything ever bowled.

Like his team, he is a player with a decent record which does not really convey how good he could be at his best. Like his team, he's a bit flawed, but gets through it through bloody-mindedness and determination. Like his team, he was skilful and smart.

Like his team, he looks tired.

It would be stupid to write off England and Anderson right now. With South Africa having a great team, and India a team of greats, England still rose to the top of the world. hey did it with a spearhead with an average average, a splayed front foot and a head that yanks the wrong way. They did it when no one really expected England to be as good as they were, and no one really expected Anderson to do as much as he has.

James Anderson has more Test wickets than every English cricketer other than Ian Botham. From the same amount of Tests, he has more than Willis. That skinny frame and dodgy action has got him there. There is something special about him. Even if he did have the misfortune to be more mortal than Botham or Steyn.

Anderson, and England, can come back. If not now, then one day.

****

The ball tails in at very nearly yorker length. George Bailey hits it onto the sightscreen covered seats with ease. Australia are 503 ahead.

****

Anderson bowled a quality delivery to Chris Rogers that went off the edge towards Prior and Cook. Prior never moved. Cook jumped violently but couldn't hold on. Anderson went back to his mark as the catch was trickling slowly behind them. Australia already had a big lead for no wickets, Broad was off the ground, the birds were gathering above England's heads waiting for them to fall over.

Anderson should have just kept walking past his mark and into the member's bar.

Instead he kept bowling, 19 overs in all. His first 18 went for 77. His 19th conceded 28.

****

After Bailey's 28th run, Michael Clarke holds his hand up. He doesn't call the team in with the familiar captaincy gesture where you gesture for them to come in. He just holds his hand up like a police officer stopping traffic. Stop. You've done enough.

It was quite clear, for now at least, Anderson and England were done.

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

Comments have now been closed for this article

  • Roodog on December 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Nice list of bowlers there "tests only" but how about McGrath? Surely better than a number of those bowlers.

  • highveldhillbilly on December 19, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    @TEST_CRICKET_ONLY - Walsh, Dev etc better than Steyn? It's your opinion but I think you're wrong. People tend to remember/view past players with rose tinted glasses. Dev and Walsh are in no way a better bowler than Steyn, especially Dev. Also Younis was amazing when on song but fell away towards the end of their career. People tend to forget things like this when they remember pasty players.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @TEST_CRICKET_ONLY, you can also make a case for Willis, Trueman, Voce, Statham, Larwood, Sid Barnes, Tyson and Spoffoth being above Styen in an All time XI. If we'ere including all rounders then Kapil Dev, Lindwall, and Botham would also be in the list.

  • Alexk400 on December 19, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Anderson is overhyped. he shines in england at best. He need swinging condition. Steyn also. But steyn can take wicket even non swinging condition

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on December 19, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    @Clavers - You said, "Steyn could justify his place in any all-time XI". Clearly you are not a student of the game or you are one of those who think the only cricket ever played has been in your lifetime. Steyn is an excellent bowler, but would struggle to make it to the top 10 of all time. Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Akram, Younis, Lillee, Hadlee, Garner, Dev, Walsh were all better bowlers. Look it up.

  • AussiePhoenix on December 18, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    Great to see Anderson get shut up, especially by George in THAT over. But come Melbourne and Sydney he'll be on more favourable pitches, he will prosper. The guy is a class act, you don't get 330+ wickets in 90 matches by fluke.

  • dunger.bob on December 18, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Jarrod was being sarcastic when he called Steyn a god? Not that it matters I suppose.

    My Saffer radar is starting to work overtime. Anyone would think we're going to play them soon.

  • ooper_cut on December 18, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    South Africa has a great team and India had a team of greats & Aus yearns for either of those which is not happening in the near future. If the 4th innings of the 3rd test was anything to go by, Oz will run out of steam very very soon.

  • rajuramki on December 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Steyn was born to bowl . Anderson was tailored to bowl . That is the big difference . Steyn and any other present bowler including Anderson or Johnson cannot be compared . Steyn is in a very different planet , where he is all alone . He may not have the pace of Johnson but he is too crafty for any batsman to play him with confidence . In short Steyn is 50 % of SA team and the rest make up the balance 50 %.

  • SoyQuearns on December 18, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    Jimmy '28 in an over' Anderson has finally been uncloaked as a truly average cricketer.

    His test average of 30.70 proves that to the unbiased, however there are those who have broken his career into halves, the good, most recent half and the earlier, very bad half.

    That's fine, but even then his most recent efforts against what is still a relatively shaky lineup, in hugely favourable pace conditions, is woeful.

    After Trent Bridge he took just 12 wickets at 41.08 in doctored conditions.

    In Aus he's bowled at 58.43 on dream tracks for pacemen.

    This is finally the counterpunch that English fans needed, so they can measure their expecations of Anderson and also realise where he sits on the food chain.

    Dale Steyn is miles ahead of him, and not too far behind Steyn is Ryan Harris, then there is a HUUUGE gap, then there's Jimmy Anderson.

    Attn: SAF fans - Steyn is a marker here, I'm mainly talking Aus v Eng so didn't bother with Philander, Morkel, et.al.

    Dreadful tour for Anderson.

  • Roodog on December 19, 2013, 13:19 GMT

    Nice list of bowlers there "tests only" but how about McGrath? Surely better than a number of those bowlers.

  • highveldhillbilly on December 19, 2013, 10:56 GMT

    @TEST_CRICKET_ONLY - Walsh, Dev etc better than Steyn? It's your opinion but I think you're wrong. People tend to remember/view past players with rose tinted glasses. Dev and Walsh are in no way a better bowler than Steyn, especially Dev. Also Younis was amazing when on song but fell away towards the end of their career. People tend to forget things like this when they remember pasty players.

  • YorkshirePudding on December 19, 2013, 10:30 GMT

    @TEST_CRICKET_ONLY, you can also make a case for Willis, Trueman, Voce, Statham, Larwood, Sid Barnes, Tyson and Spoffoth being above Styen in an All time XI. If we'ere including all rounders then Kapil Dev, Lindwall, and Botham would also be in the list.

  • Alexk400 on December 19, 2013, 4:41 GMT

    Anderson is overhyped. he shines in england at best. He need swinging condition. Steyn also. But steyn can take wicket even non swinging condition

  • TEST_CRICKET_ONLY on December 19, 2013, 0:52 GMT

    @Clavers - You said, "Steyn could justify his place in any all-time XI". Clearly you are not a student of the game or you are one of those who think the only cricket ever played has been in your lifetime. Steyn is an excellent bowler, but would struggle to make it to the top 10 of all time. Holding, Marshall, Ambrose, Akram, Younis, Lillee, Hadlee, Garner, Dev, Walsh were all better bowlers. Look it up.

  • AussiePhoenix on December 18, 2013, 13:40 GMT

    Great to see Anderson get shut up, especially by George in THAT over. But come Melbourne and Sydney he'll be on more favourable pitches, he will prosper. The guy is a class act, you don't get 330+ wickets in 90 matches by fluke.

  • dunger.bob on December 18, 2013, 11:15 GMT

    Has anyone considered the possibility that Jarrod was being sarcastic when he called Steyn a god? Not that it matters I suppose.

    My Saffer radar is starting to work overtime. Anyone would think we're going to play them soon.

  • ooper_cut on December 18, 2013, 8:01 GMT

    South Africa has a great team and India had a team of greats & Aus yearns for either of those which is not happening in the near future. If the 4th innings of the 3rd test was anything to go by, Oz will run out of steam very very soon.

  • rajuramki on December 18, 2013, 5:42 GMT

    Steyn was born to bowl . Anderson was tailored to bowl . That is the big difference . Steyn and any other present bowler including Anderson or Johnson cannot be compared . Steyn is in a very different planet , where he is all alone . He may not have the pace of Johnson but he is too crafty for any batsman to play him with confidence . In short Steyn is 50 % of SA team and the rest make up the balance 50 %.

  • SoyQuearns on December 18, 2013, 2:49 GMT

    Jimmy '28 in an over' Anderson has finally been uncloaked as a truly average cricketer.

    His test average of 30.70 proves that to the unbiased, however there are those who have broken his career into halves, the good, most recent half and the earlier, very bad half.

    That's fine, but even then his most recent efforts against what is still a relatively shaky lineup, in hugely favourable pace conditions, is woeful.

    After Trent Bridge he took just 12 wickets at 41.08 in doctored conditions.

    In Aus he's bowled at 58.43 on dream tracks for pacemen.

    This is finally the counterpunch that English fans needed, so they can measure their expecations of Anderson and also realise where he sits on the food chain.

    Dale Steyn is miles ahead of him, and not too far behind Steyn is Ryan Harris, then there is a HUUUGE gap, then there's Jimmy Anderson.

    Attn: SAF fans - Steyn is a marker here, I'm mainly talking Aus v Eng so didn't bother with Philander, Morkel, et.al.

    Dreadful tour for Anderson.

  • neil99 on December 18, 2013, 2:15 GMT

    couchpundit

    Steyn is superman and Anderson is Batman... and cleary you are at best the Joker.

    "Anderson has not been endearing. I know it because he is English"

    Stick to the couch, but lay off the punditry, or utter nonsense as it should be called going by your infantile posts.

  • Clavers on December 18, 2013, 1:16 GMT

    @Unomass: Geoff Boycott is very much an Englishman so when he rates Steyn ahead of Anderson we can't put it down to bias. Excellent bowlers both, but Steyn's superior pace gives him the edge. Steyn could justify his place in any all-time XI but the same could not be said of Anderson.

    That said, Harris and Johnson have now emerged as worthy challengers and the upcoming contest between the Steyn-Philander-Morkel battery and the Harris-Johnson-Siddle hit squad will be a beauty.

  • on December 18, 2013, 0:59 GMT

    I am not a big fan of anderson and personally find him overhyphed by british press. Having said that he is a very good bowler - especially over the last couple of years he did bowl very well. But this series I don't think he bowled very badly. Infact one must acknowledge that in 2010-11 - England were catching everything, now they are dropping even simple catches. That itself makes a big difference to a bowler's confidence. Secondly, earlier England were making scores of 500+ - now they are struggling to cross 250. This means bowlers have half the time to recuperate. Point is other factors also come into play - this time other bowlers were leaking runs more often than they were in 2010-11 so no consistent pressure from other end.

  • Deuce03 on December 18, 2013, 0:29 GMT

    Anderson did perform well in 2009 in more than one Test; at Lord's he blew away Australia's top order, 4-55 (Hughes, Ponting, Clarke, North) and setting up that win. At the draw in Edgbaston he took 5-80, mostly the middle order. It's easily forgotten now, but it was that series, especially the Lord's match, that really sealed his place as England's attack leader, rather than a frustrating and inconsistent swing bowler we had to use because there was no-one else.

  • Digimont on December 17, 2013, 23:31 GMT

    @heathrf1974 - given we don' know WHO the England team is in two years time, how can you say they will be tougher with any certainly? I agree that will be the coaching staff's aim, but I see 8 of the third test team not being around in 2 years (the three being Bell, Root and Stokes).

  • BarrytheH on December 17, 2013, 21:50 GMT

    Anderson looks a beaten man, not just with the ball but when he comes out to bat. He has shown no fight. In Australia it is much harder for a medium pace bowler because there is not the swing nor cut of English pitches. My suggestion for Anderson is to restrict his future matches to England and never return to play in Australia.

  • on December 17, 2013, 20:32 GMT

    @MohamedRafiSirajuddeen

    DW Steyn: BowlAv: 22.65 21 5-fors in 67 matches.

    W Akram: BowlAv: 23.62 25 5-fors in 104 matches.

    J Garner: BowlAv: 20.97 7 5-fors in 58 matches.

    GD McGrath: BowlAv: 21.64 29 5-fors in 124 matches.

    I think Steyn belongs on the list.

  • couchpundit on December 17, 2013, 13:57 GMT

    Steyn is superman and Anderson is Batman.....Batman has always been endearing... not so anderson....i know its because he is english(ever complaining,ever boasting lot even when they dont have stuff let alone a fine bowler like himself) Anyways its always nice to see a good bowler smashed around and even better when the guy picks himself up and turn the table on opponents...it will be interesting last 2 games.

    But STEYN is GOD....I dont even have to explain Steyn does not even have physique of anderson yet the guys is Terror...thats his spirit and that is no superman...Its all Batman. Beyond cricket field his heart is in right place, he does things naturally where multitude of PR teams plan for English players.

  • PACERONE on December 17, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    You are correct PADDYCLARK!!! Batsmen give their wickets to Anderson playing at wide balls.He bowls well in bowling conditions.

  • on December 17, 2013, 13:08 GMT

    Drakester, Bradman was (of course) right, but to compare averages, I think you need to allow something for the effects of modern pitches (don't deteriorate), bat technology (modern bats hit the ball further than old ones), bouncer laws and body armour (which reduces the fear factor in batsmen facing fast bowlers). If you allow a 10-15% reduction in batting and bowling averages to compensate, Steyn's 22.65 test bowling average becomes about 19.5-20, which puts him ahead of Marshall, Ambrose and Garner (the best of the West Indian greats, although some adjustment should probably be made to their slightly under 21 averages too). Lillee, Wasim and Waqar averaged just under 24 each, and Imran a little under 22.

    Not sure what this proves, except that Imran was a phenomenon, and that Steyn appears to be heading for the ranks of all time greats.

  • TheBigBoodha on December 17, 2013, 12:12 GMT

    Anderson is often exceptional, but sometimes ordinary. He has looked mentally exhausted, almost defeated at times this tour.

    But remember, Steyn was largely impotent on the last tour to Australia. He got thrashed in Adelaide. Only on the fast bowlers' paradise at Perth did he worry any of the Australian players. Even in Brisbane he was outbowled by Siddle, Pattinson and co.

  • camcove on December 17, 2013, 10:45 GMT

    I'm surprised by some of the comments so far as to where Steyn fits in the league of greats. I followed DK Lillee for all of his test career, and he is my favourite Aussie quick of the ones I have seen. Hadlee from NZ was as good. Marshall was awesome (arguably the best), and the other members of Boycott's top 8 West Indians (in his interview on ABC radio) were all magnificent. Wasim, Waqar, Kapil Dev, Peter Pollock, Shaun Pollock, McGrath, Gillespie, Proctor were also great. I think, statistically, Steyn is at least as good as any of these. Regardless of statistics, he is clearly a champion fast bowler. I am looking forward very much to the series in SA. Many observers don't rate the Aussies' chances hugely, but I suspect they underestimate the determination of these guys. When fit, Ryno is as good as anyone; MJ is as strong as a bull and must have good memories of SA. The depth of bowling may be tested but if so will be shown to be strong. Batting spots are yet to be secured.

  • on December 17, 2013, 10:35 GMT

    As Bradman said, the only way to compare players from different eras is through their averages. Anderson's average doesn't put him in the elite category - he wouldnt be picked as a third seamer in any decent attack over the years. The man is a joke in Australian conditions - any decent seamer would have thrived in Brisbane and Perth (Johnson, Harris, Siddle, Broad) but his shoulders slumped and he performed with a startling degree of indifference. Dump him now and pick Rankin for the future!

  • heathrf1974 on December 17, 2013, 9:26 GMT

    One good thing for England is they will be a a tougher opponent at home for the next Ashes.

  • on December 17, 2013, 9:23 GMT

    @ golgo_85

    Please could you expand on what the "quite a lot to do " before he can be compared to the greats is? He already has more wickets than Donald in less matches, He has a better Strike rate than any of the bowlers you mentioned and his average is easily compairable. And all this in an age where pitches are better prepared and dont detoriate as much, batsman have all the protective gear so there is no physical fear facing fast bowlers, players are ground into the dust with the amount of cricket being played and he's still standing.

    To all that question steyn he may not be "god" but to simply dismiss his claim to being great is quite frankly ridiculous considering all he has achieved

  • kepler22b on December 17, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    Posted by voyrison on (December 17, 2013, 7:49 GMT)

    Um, Australia was playing in the same tests and have been to India before and after that series. Teaspoon of concrete available.

    And don't give me the overbowled stuff. These guys bowl nothing like the bowlers of yesteryear who played county and test. They bowled at least twice as many balls in their careers.

  • Unomaas on December 17, 2013, 9:19 GMT

    I am Saffa so naturally I am biased towards Steyn. When the English Press and David Saker made their comments elevating Anderson to the pantheon of fast bowling greats above Steyn, I must say, I had a good laugh at Jimmy's expense. However, the sentiment was repeated by Wasim Akrim some time ago...Jimmy is the most skillful bowler of his generation. Now if Wasim is saying it, then the assertion must have merit?

    I suppose when you put Jimmy's whole career in perspective, then it makes sense. If I think back to the first time I saw Jimmy and the last time I saw him, his evolution as a bowler is extra-ordinary. The amount of skill he has acquired is exceptional. He has the best in-swinger I have ever seen in my life!

    Jimmy's last 2-3 years have been exceptional ranking on par with Steyn but one also can't help but wonder if his golden years might just have ended?

    Anyways...he is still the second best in his generation :P

    Great article Jarod. Really enjoyed reading it!

  • Paddyclark on December 17, 2013, 9:11 GMT

    There is too much written about Anderson when the likes of Ryan Harris are largely ignored. Harris, with less than half the opportunity of Anderson, with a half broken body and playing for a team with little momentum (until now), he has proven to be head and shoulders above Anderson. Faster, more accurate, better strike rate, average around 21 or 22 and swings it both ways as well. Clearly a better bowler.

    Anderson is just a good bowler, and you are being too kind to suggest any more than that.

    It feels like there is a propaganda machine around this pommy team that (to its credit) overachieved for a couple of years in test cricket.

    Of course I have likely wasted my time typing this for a site that has done its fair share of over-hyping the likes of Jimmy Anderson.

  • CSpiers on December 17, 2013, 8:10 GMT

    Not the biggest fan of Anderson, but Steyn was also made to look a medium pace trundler at times the last time SA were in Australia. The difference was Steyn was up for the fight, he fought his way out of a mediocre form. Anderson just looks spent at the moment.

  • on December 17, 2013, 8:02 GMT

    Jimmy is alrightish, only if he carries his cloud with him. No cloud, no Jimmy. Much like the hype of the English bowlers, not a good enough attack for test cricket really.

  • voyrison on December 17, 2013, 7:49 GMT

    Poor England. The victims of over-commerical scheduling. Who ever heard of a three month gap between Ashes? They just beat Australia three times in a row and are told to do it all over again just three months later. The whole team are knackered, but what do you expect ?

  • Buggsy on December 17, 2013, 7:41 GMT

    Anderson may well be one of the all time great swingers of the ball, but he has a serious flaw in that there's no plan B when it doesn't move. That's why his average is so high, and that's why he's been a major flop in this series. I'd take a half decent seam bowler any day of the week over Anderson.

  • Tumbarumbar on December 17, 2013, 7:07 GMT

    I think @IronCobra may have forgotten a few fast bowlers with his 'Steyn is the best of all time' comment. Without going back too far let's go for Larwood, Lindwall, Lillee, Tyson, Miller, Trueman, Hall, Marshall, Holding, Ambrose, Walsh, Khan, McGrath, Hadlee, Proctor and Donald. Miller and Khan were not only great fast bowlers but test class batsmen while Lindwall and Hadlee both scored test hundreds. Sadly we didn't get to see Proctor play at the top level for more than a handful of games but Gloustershire wasn't called Proctorshire during his time at the county for nothing.

  • on December 17, 2013, 7:02 GMT

    Anderson, even on his best day, would not make the SA starting line up. Period. When SA went to England to gain the no. 1 ranking the English press hailed him as better than Steyn. He is being outbowled by Broad who is frankly the most overrated cricketer of his generation. Let us put this silly comparison to bed once and for all: Anderson is the Lindford Christie to Steyn's Usain Bolt!

  • highveldhillbilly on December 17, 2013, 6:30 GMT

    @kensohatter - I think you have lost your mind. Steyn is an incredible bowlers and he is compatible to the best there have been. He bowls in an era where batsmen are dominating on flat pitches and is still maintains his bolwing average ans trike rate. He's made the ICC test team 6 years in a row.

  • Protea.Titan on December 17, 2013, 5:27 GMT

    Those who think Steyn is not a great, I can only say shame on you. He most definitely is one of the all time greats, the menace of Donald coupled with the accuracy of Pollock is Dale Steyn. In a batting friendly era he is the one standout, the one true great bowler, Hail Dale!

  • Udendra on December 17, 2013, 5:08 GMT

    it's amazing how Anderson gets thrashed in conditions that favor him. Even subcontinent bowlers fair well in these places.

  • Checkthefacts on December 17, 2013, 2:19 GMT

    Amazing what a bit of heat and a few long spells will do to someone. I would not mention Anderson in the same breath as Dennis Lillee or Glen McGrath who were far more consistent, tougher and more competitive. Unlike you Jarrod, I do not feel the same sense of sentimentality about an above average bowler being brought back to reality. Nor should you.

  • BigDataIsAHoax on December 17, 2013, 1:49 GMT

    Steyn is God. He does not have to bowl one more delivery to prove it. He has flayed Indian batsmen on Indian pitches, destroyed the Australians in Australia, out-swung the English in England. He is the most complete fast bowler of ALL TIME. He is devastating!!

  • caught_knott_bowled_old on December 17, 2013, 1:47 GMT

    "Dale Steyn is a god"...enough said Jarrod. As for Jimmy Anderson, he is the most skillful medium-fast bowler in England, thats it.

  • Cpt.Meanster on December 17, 2013, 1:36 GMT

    @LeftBrain: Everything you said in your comment was good except the last line. What have you guys got against India ? There isn't a day on Cricinfo where there isn't someone saying anything negative about Indian cricket. Sure, we don't have fast bowlers but we had and HAVE some of the best batsmen on the planet. How many teams can even think of that hmm ? We produce batsmen just like how others produce fast bowlers. You gain some, you lose some.

  • on December 16, 2013, 23:21 GMT

    If Dale Steyn is god, then what about Wasim Akram and McGrath? God of Gods??

  • on December 16, 2013, 22:58 GMT

    I dispute that Anderson is not a great fast bowler. He very much is. He has not been at his best here but the English attack is simply wrong. Third seamer should be Onions, should have been Onions all along. The weakness of the third seamer, and Swann being out of form, and the batsmen collapsing quickly and meekly, has meant increasing workloads, greater mental strain to try and recover from hopeless positions, and a failure to sustain pressure. Every test it has been the same: Broad and Anderson bowl in tandem, get wickets and then they tire and the Australians feast. That is in no way a reflection that Anderson has not bowled well, not his best by any means, but he has torn too many teams apart to be dismissed as just good.

  • on December 16, 2013, 22:11 GMT

    No one deserves a poorer series than JA. He is always chirping away at Australia and this is his just deserts. I hope he is smashed to every corner of Melbourne and Sydney. I usually have sympathy for players out of form but none for this bloke.

  • kensohatter on December 16, 2013, 22:10 GMT

    Happy to admit that as an aussie I was fearful of what Jimmy could do to us following his previous ashes performance but he has been very out of sorts this trip. As for comparisons with Steyn and the greats I think its important the cricketing public realise that we are going through a very poor period for bowlers. We just dont have any world class ones. Steyn is good but not great. You cant compare him to a mcgrath, ambrose, akram. I blame 20/20 and the fact that cricket is skewing towards the batsmen ruining the contest of bat and ball. The days of truly great bowlers are numbered. I would put steyn and anderson in the same league as a jason gillespie, Vaas, Gough, pollock... all good bowlers but wont go down as greats of the game.

  • SoyQuearns on December 16, 2013, 21:06 GMT

    Finally, this absolute hiding has put to rest the whole 'Anderson is world-class' thinking.

    You should not get praise for bowling when the batting side is on top, just as the praise you receive (e.g. Trent Bridge) should be much more measured when you take wickets in doctored conditions on your home ground.

    Fact is, Anderson has only increased his already poor record against Aus (particularly in Aus) and has HEAVILY and OBVIOUSLY reminded England as to why Australian fans will never, and rightly should never, concede anything other than the fact that Anderson is (increasingly less so) just good enough to get into the England side and barely good enough to take wickets on a consistent basis.

    They will tell us he's tired and unlucky, but this rot of form and 125km/h mediocrity has been present long before England won 3-0.

    Tremendously pleasing to see his whining, dejected and despondent face. As he carried on like a pork chop in England I am so pleased. Perspective hurts. Avg player

  • on December 16, 2013, 19:26 GMT

    Its hard to know that to day about England, I feel a certain sympathy for the bowlers on no completed day of this series have they not bowled which is a stunning stat. It was the same for the Aus bowlers here, the batsmen collapse so the bowlers have to work harder

    The consistency of England top order since 2009 until earlier this year has led to not a lot of players being tried. Those who have been tired have not set the world alight at test level Bopara, Morgan, Bairstow, Taylor (only for two games), Compton was better but discarded.

    I would normally say that an away ashes series is no time for a debutant but watching stokes today maybe it would be worth giving Ballance a go. If not then why wasn't compton selected for the tour

  • LeftBrain on December 16, 2013, 18:34 GMT

    if you make a list of great fast bowlers of modern age, after current laws are put in place and introduction of body armour for batsmen etc. it would read something like this, in no particular order; Marshal, Holding, Garner, Ambrose, Walsh, Imran, Waseem, Waqar, Shoaib, Donald, Pollack, Lillee, Lee, McGrath, Hadlee...... you wont find an out-in-out great fast bowler from England, or India for that matter.

  • NumberXI on December 16, 2013, 18:30 GMT

    Anderson isn't Steyn, and no amount of literary skill will help to gloss over that. However, in a team that has seen the likes of Flintoff, Hoggard, Harmison, Jones and now has Broad, Tremlett and Bresnan, Anderson stands out as a bowler across transitions whose place has been earned by quality bowling. He is no Steyn but there is no denying that after Zaheer retires, India will sorely wish for a bowler of Anderson's pedigree.

  • golgo_85 on December 16, 2013, 18:12 GMT

    I totally disagree on Steyn being as good as "a few greats" but yes, he is the only bowler who comes closer than anyone to be compared to the likes of Hadlee, Imran, Holding, Botham, Marshall, Wasim, Walsh, Ambrose, Waqar, McGrath, Donald, Pollock. Would've been a different case if Bond and Asif were still playing. Steyn IS the only "god" we have at the moment and he still has quite a lot to do before being compared to those not really "few" gods. And Anderson - well, at the age of 31, he is averaging about 30 and is also unable to work his magic on Aussie pitches. Can this get any duller??????

  • LeftBrain on December 16, 2013, 17:57 GMT

    Really Jarrod? Anderson the most skillful bowler? In order to be most skillful, you need to have the ability to perform where ball and pitch and wether doesnt help you, like great West-Indian and great Pakistani fast bowlers. English bowlers are so much dependent on other factors that it can easily be concluded that they dont have any skill at all. English bowlers can take wickets if criterias like ball is certain over old, a certain time of the day, when wind is blowing at certain direction at certain speed and pitch have a certain amount of grass and humidity is at certain level are met. if any of these criteria is not there, you get English team you are seeing since last 30 years, except for a few seasons last couple of years.

  • CodandChips on December 16, 2013, 17:22 GMT

    Ashame. Had a great time 2010-2013 but after Trent Bridge just hasn't been up to it. Pace is decreasing and he just seems to lake bite. Good article.

  • WonkyRabbit on December 16, 2013, 16:59 GMT

    Brilliant penmanship....just stunning writing....made me feel a bit sad for Jimmy at the end there but then I remembered how he dismantled Pakistan at Capetown during the 2003 World Cup....Steyn may be the alpha of fast bowlers (though Johnson might have something to say about that) but Jimmy is still the fox, the kingmaker to the Cooks and Pietersens of this world

  • Aviator003 on December 16, 2013, 16:55 GMT

    Great one yet again Jarrod.

  • pvwadekar on December 16, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    Guys .. Anderson has had a horrendous tour but is still a very skillful swing bowler. However, like most of the seniors, he seems a bit weary. Best think to do now that the ashes are lost is to give up the other other players [Baristow for Prior, Finn for Broad, Rankin for Anderson, Ballace fro KP, Monty for Swann ] some chances and let the seniors get refreshed. I am sure Anderson will be back to his best in July.

  • ukrishprasad on December 16, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    great leveller................you win some & u loose some

  • Reececonrad on December 16, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Great piece Jarrod this is a very well structured and clever article. The best one I've read for months, if not the best of the year.

  • PrasPunter on December 16, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    @Ali Akhtar, I see no real point in someone like Steyn wasting his time playing ODIs and T20s - they hardly matter. What matters is how many test-matches and series he wins for his team - Same applies to every Legend. Aus would do well to give the entire Test team a break after it is over - The 7 ODIs to be played are just an overkill . I dont want anyone from this team to play that. Just a waste of time !!

  • jonesy2 on December 16, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    you lost me at "James Anderson has been one of the most skilful bowlers of the modern age". that makes me sad because now im convinced I could've been that then

  • SurlyCynic on December 16, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    No Duke ball, no overcast conditions and trundler-like pace - unfortunately this tour was a disaster just waiting to happen to him. A pity as he has been decent on his day in the past, but now he features with a bunch of spinners on the 'most expensive ever over' list. Perhaps that is apt, in a way.

  • Gandalf_GreyPilgrim on December 16, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    A Brilliant article, just shows how jaded and battle weary England hour and nothing signifies this more than the slump in form for Anderson and Cook.

  • on December 16, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    Excellent piece! Keep it up Jarrod. You are just as skillful a cricket writer as skillful a swing bowler Anderson is.

  • JimDavis on December 16, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    You can understand Australian's view of Anderson when you consider the fact that when he made it to 200 wickets, he had a statistically inferior record to the most mortal of mortals and smarter than he looks - Sir Merv Hughes.

  • on December 16, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    Beautifully written article Jarrod. England should indeed be thankful for Anderson and to Anderson..he keeps coming..he has bailed England out of many grim situations but I believe he has been horribly over bowled...The secret to Steyn's success is not only his pace and skill it's also his management...he rarely played ODIs or T20s but was always at his full tilt in test matches. They need to give Jimmy a break! Actually right now the whole England team needs a long break to lick their wounds! Go Aussies :D

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  • on December 16, 2013, 13:47 GMT

    Beautifully written article Jarrod. England should indeed be thankful for Anderson and to Anderson..he keeps coming..he has bailed England out of many grim situations but I believe he has been horribly over bowled...The secret to Steyn's success is not only his pace and skill it's also his management...he rarely played ODIs or T20s but was always at his full tilt in test matches. They need to give Jimmy a break! Actually right now the whole England team needs a long break to lick their wounds! Go Aussies :D

  • JimDavis on December 16, 2013, 13:49 GMT

    You can understand Australian's view of Anderson when you consider the fact that when he made it to 200 wickets, he had a statistically inferior record to the most mortal of mortals and smarter than he looks - Sir Merv Hughes.

  • on December 16, 2013, 13:50 GMT

    Excellent piece! Keep it up Jarrod. You are just as skillful a cricket writer as skillful a swing bowler Anderson is.

  • Gandalf_GreyPilgrim on December 16, 2013, 13:59 GMT

    A Brilliant article, just shows how jaded and battle weary England hour and nothing signifies this more than the slump in form for Anderson and Cook.

  • SurlyCynic on December 16, 2013, 14:58 GMT

    No Duke ball, no overcast conditions and trundler-like pace - unfortunately this tour was a disaster just waiting to happen to him. A pity as he has been decent on his day in the past, but now he features with a bunch of spinners on the 'most expensive ever over' list. Perhaps that is apt, in a way.

  • jonesy2 on December 16, 2013, 15:04 GMT

    you lost me at "James Anderson has been one of the most skilful bowlers of the modern age". that makes me sad because now im convinced I could've been that then

  • PrasPunter on December 16, 2013, 15:14 GMT

    @Ali Akhtar, I see no real point in someone like Steyn wasting his time playing ODIs and T20s - they hardly matter. What matters is how many test-matches and series he wins for his team - Same applies to every Legend. Aus would do well to give the entire Test team a break after it is over - The 7 ODIs to be played are just an overkill . I dont want anyone from this team to play that. Just a waste of time !!

  • Reececonrad on December 16, 2013, 15:36 GMT

    Great piece Jarrod this is a very well structured and clever article. The best one I've read for months, if not the best of the year.

  • ukrishprasad on December 16, 2013, 15:50 GMT

    great leveller................you win some & u loose some

  • pvwadekar on December 16, 2013, 16:21 GMT

    Guys .. Anderson has had a horrendous tour but is still a very skillful swing bowler. However, like most of the seniors, he seems a bit weary. Best think to do now that the ashes are lost is to give up the other other players [Baristow for Prior, Finn for Broad, Rankin for Anderson, Ballace fro KP, Monty for Swann ] some chances and let the seniors get refreshed. I am sure Anderson will be back to his best in July.