Paul Edwards is a freelance cricket writer. He has written for the Times, ESPNcricinfo, Wisden, Southport Visiter and other publications
WI v BDESH (1)
ENG v NZ (1)
SL v AUS (1)
Ranji Trophy (1)
IND in ENG (1)
AUS-A in SL (1)
Vitality Blast (8)
IND-W in SL (1)
Yorkshire 379 (Root 147; Parkinson 4-90, Bailey 3-56) and 169 for 6 (Brook 82*, Anderson 15-7-17-2) drew with Lancashire 566 for 9 dec (Jennings 238, Croft 104, Bess 3-151)
Rather like Britt in The Magnificent Seven, world-class sportspeople compete with themselves. Victories matter, of course; trophies matter, too; and yes, money matters, for they all know there must come a life after sport. But overarching all these things there is a private battle, one that is not always acknowledged, to satisfy a personal demand for excellence, even if one's performance already soars far above one's contemporaries. This afternoon, in a drawn Roses match at Headingley, James Anderson revealed something of the fires that drive him on, even at the age of 39, when most cricketers are merely talking about their careers or telling others how to do it.
In team games it is impossible to satisfy those personal demands if one is not selected. However, for most sportspeople the diminution in one's contribution to the collective effort is obvious some time before the axe falls. Anderson, though, clearly believes he was nowhere near that chastening realisation when he was recently omitted from the England party to tour West Indies, and this match against Yorkshire has given him opportunities to prove his point to Joe Root, the man who was at least complicit in the decision to leave him at home.
The last such opportunity arrived shortly after lunch on this last day of a match Lancashire dominated. Despite Root's very fine 147 in Yorkshire's first innings, the home side had been made to follow on 187 runs behind and their second effort had begun badly. Just as he had been in the first innings, Adam Lyth was leg before to an in-ducker from Tom Bailey; the only difference this time was that Lyth was playing a shot of sorts.
The hour's cricket that followed was intense. Bailey and Anderson strove to make the breakthroughs their team needed but were resisted by George Hill and Dawid Malan. Runs were, for the moment, secondary to survival on a day when Yorkshire effectively needed to bat out the best part of three sessions if they were to avoid defeat. About twenty minutes before lunch Vilas made a double change and the tension slackened slightly. Yorkshire ended the first session on 39 for one after 17 overs; it felt like an achievement.
It was also temporary. Anderson returned to the attack from the Howard Stand End immediately after lunch and beat Malan twice in four balls. The fifth brought the batter forward and induced the edge to Phil Salt - or so Mark Saggers adjudged. Malan's plainly dissenting opinion was of no consequence. Anderson celebrated with his colleagues and then went back to his mark to bowl at the former captain of England.
That private-public duel lasted ten balls. The first was well defended, the fifth beat Root all ends up and the ninth was skilfully guided without risk to the third man boundary. The tenth was as quick as the others, which is to say around 80mph. It kept a little low but crucially it nipped back though a gate that was closed all too late. It crashed into the middle and off stumps and flattened them.
Anderson held his right arm aloft, leapt in triumph and then clenched his fists at his side in a manner that brings delight to the Barmy Army. Revenge? I think not. Point made? Oh, certainly. For there was a momentary glance towards the departing Root. There were, so far as we could gather, no words. But then Anderson's bowling possesses eloquence beyond language. Watch him closely again, in the flesh if you can, and see for yourself. He has been among the glories of our sporting age.
The remainder of Anderson's second six-over spell of the day was similarly accurate but threatening deliveries were well defended by Hill and Harry Brook. England's finest bowler came off with figures of 12-6-11-2. They are par for that particular course. They may even have satisfied him.
Lancashire made only one more breakthrough in the afternoon session, Hill falling to a short ball once again, when his very limp pull shot to a ball from Luke Wood merely edged a catch to Salt. Anderson returned for three overs before tea and had Harry Brook dropped on 30 by Wood at square leg. It proved a vital miss. Shortly after tea, Brook reached his seventh half-century in eight first-class innings this season. In the evening session he watched from the other end as Harry Duke was brilliantly caught by Luke Wells at slip and Dom Bess was snaffled by Jennings at short leg. Both these wickets were taken by Matt Parkinson, for whom this was an excellent all-round match.
But Brook is quite clearly a young batsman of high calibre. When the draw was agreed with seven overs left to be bowled, he was unbeaten on 82 and his aggregate for the season is currently 758 at an average of 151.6. But what one notices is the time he has in which to play his shots and the ease with which he does so. There is, surely, every chance that he will play his first Test against New Zealand. James Anderson, meanwhile, will be playing his 170th. The England cap will be back where it belongs.
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Dismissal of Joe Root the highlight of final day, as Yorkshire dig deep to secure draw
Joe Root scores century going toe-to-toe with James Anderson
Former England Test captain posts 147 with Yorkshire still trailing Lancashire by 210 runs
Keaton Jennings double-century gives Lancashire good cause for optimism
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