Home > Features >

The vengeance of James Anderson

James Anderson celbrates his fifty
James Anderson brought up his maiden half-century in Trent Bridge © Getty Images

With England in an extremely tight corner, James Anderson fought against his own weakness to reach a well-deserved maiden Test fifty. Abhishek Mukherjee lauds the tail-ender who can look at the men up the order in the eyes.

James Anderson is England’s pace spearhead. He is the leading wicket-taker at Trent Bridgeand the only bowler to have taken 50 wickets at two English grounds.  Anderson is on his way to become England’s highest wicket-taker and arrive at the bowlers’ Mount Olympus — the 400 Test-wicket landmark.

Unfortunately, the Lancashire swing merchant cannot handle the short ball. Or rather, he could not; till Trent Bridge 2014.

Less than three wickets back he had fallen prey to a bouncer from Shaminda Eranga; it was the penultimate ball of the Test, and the dismissal had led to Sri Lanka a historic series win. He could not hold his tears back at the podium that day. He had let Moeen Ali down. He had let England down.

The world had figured out his weakness against the short, fast ball. Mitchell Johnson and Peter Siddle had in Ashes 2013-14. Angelo Mathews had taken the cue and had summoned Eranga to replace the reliable Rangana Herath for that one final over. And Anderson had, almost predictably, fallen prey; and he was crestfallen.

Somewhere in the past three weeks his fists were probably clenched in determination. The jaw gritted. He decided it was enough. He would not give in again. It was not the bowlers’ fault that he got out. It was he who could not handle short-pitched bowling. He had to overcome it.

India had scored 457. Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami had put on a century-partnership for the final stand. England were seven-down for 202, but from the cosy warmth of the Anderson had seen Stuart Broad support Moeen. He walked out with his team on 298 for nine, the follow-on saved, but the deficit still substantial.

They tried pitching up. All three Indian pacers: then they tried bouncing. Anderson was ruffled by one from Ishant Sharma that took off. Memories of Headingley and Eranga came to mind. But Anderson who could not play short bowling, the same Anderson who was targeted by all fast bowlers, was determined this time.

It was not a battle against the bowlers. It was a battle against the inner demon. So he batted. If he could not score runs, he could at least help Root to do so.

Shami bounced. Bhuvneshwar, despite his harmless pace, bounced too. But Anderson was not to give in.

Sharma bounced again. Anderson uppercut with all the force he could muster. The ball flew over the slips and raced to the fence. He had now reached 37, his highest score.

Shami came back. Another short ball. Anderson shuffled. The ball rushed past MS Dhoni for another four.

The next ball flew to Murali Vijay at leg-gully. Vijay grassed it. The fifty was nigh. He had survived a chance. He was not going to throw this one away.

He was 47. Shami bounced again. This time he swatted it, all muscle and brawn, over mid-wicket. He was there.

It was the same man who had broken down at Headingley. Only more determined.

He is not the most talented one with the bat. He never was. But a victory is not necessarily against someone. For Anderson, it was a triumph over himself.

The Anderson at Trent Bridge had knocked out the Anderson at Headingley.

(Abhishek Mukherjee is the Deputy Editor and Cricket Historian at CricketCountry. He blogs here and can be followed on Twitter here.)

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (16:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

World T20 League 2014

Oct 2, 2014 (20:00 IST)   at Hyderabad

West Indies tour of India 2014, Practice match

Oct 3, 2014 (09:00 IST)   at Mumbai

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Woolloongabba, Brisbane

Matador BBQs One-Day Cup, 2014

Oct 4, 2014 (05:00 IST)   at Brisbane

More

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Barbados won by 6 wkts (D/L method)

World T20 League 2014

Sep 30, 2014  at Bengaluru

Perth Scorchers won by 3 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 29, 2014  at Hyderabad

Kolkata Knight Riders won by 36 runs

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Kings XI Punjab won by 7 wkts

World T20 League 2014

Sep 28, 2014  at Mohali

Hobart Hurricanes won by 6 wkts

Photos

KKR vs Dolphins, CLT20 2014

Videos

Arjuna Ranatunga shares his views on U-19 cricket

Jasprit Bumrah: Sachin Tendulkar giving me my debut cap was my most memorable moment with Mumbai Indians

Sachin Tendulkar fans turn Durga Puja pandal into cricket stadium

Pakistan players would be allowed in IPL soon, hopes Shahryar Khan

Nawaz Sharif’s only First-Class appearance

Ernie Jones — the man who sent a ball through the beard of WG Grace

Asian Games Asian Games 2014 Barbados Tridents Cape Cobras Champions League T20 2014 CLT20 CLT20 2014 Dolphins India at Asian Games 2014 Kings XI Punjab KKR vs Dolphins Kolkata Knight Riders

England always had faith in Alastair Cook, says James Anderson

Rameez Raja feels ICC should modify bowling rules to let ‘Doosra’ survive

Afghanistan invites top cricketing nations to play cricket at their backyard

High Court forms selection committees for Rajasthan cricketers

Rohit Sharma ruled out of India-West Indies ODI series

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Hobart Hurricanes, 1st Semi final, CLT20 2014: Hobart likely XI

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

Gandhi Jayanti: Mahatma Gandhi’s cricket connections and an XI

Jayasinghrao “Mamasaheb” Ghorpade: Royal connections, loyal to Baroda

Hedley Verity’s ‘lucky escape’ during the Bodyline series

Fan of the Day

Niharika Shah

Niharika Shah

671 Posts | 6 Fans

Kolkata Knight Riders vs Kings XI Punjab- Final Match Highlights from IPL 2014

Bang Bang vs Kick: Will Hrithik Roshan be able to cross Salman Khan at the Box Office?

Rameez Raja feels ICC should modify bowling rules to let ‘Doosra’ survive

Asian Games 2014 Live Updates: Indian eves enter final of Kabaddi Final, assure silver medal

Windows 10 Technical Preview now available, here’s how to download it

Why a steady heartbeat is bad for you

Kings XI Punjab vs Chennai Super Kings, 2nd Semifinal, CLT20 2014: CSK likely XI

NGOs pursue education for all

Karan Johar: Controversies are like tennis balls!

Samsung Galaxy Note 4 to launch in India on October 10

6 changes that take place in your breasts during pregnancy

Also on cricketcountry.com

Play Fantasy Cricket & Win

Cash Daily! Click here