James Anderson plays a reverse sweep en route to his score of 81 on Day 4 of the 1st Test at Trent Bridge © Getty Images
James Anderson (batting) plays a reverse sweep en route to a score of 81 on Day 4 of the 1st Test at Trent Bridge © Getty Images\

By Arunabha Sengupta

Nottingham: Jul 13, 2014

The closest Jimmy Anderson had come to a half-century before this Test match was in the obscure fields of Centre Vale, Todmorden. In the Lancashire League outing in April 2001 against Todmorden, the left hander opened the innings and scored 49 unbeaten runs in a Burnley total of 118 for five. His batting efforts must have exhausted him, because he bowled six wicketless overs giving away 30 runs. However, off-break bowler Christopher Wright, claimed eight wickets and Burnley won by 17 runs.

That is what made Anderson joke that his 49 not out had been a match-winning effort and the 81 he scripted in the first innings is yet to reach those proportions.

Asked whether he was disappointed in missing out on a hundred, Anderson was philosophical. “I thought last night that if I ever got a fifty in Test cricket, it would be on a pitch like this. I never thought I would get a hundred before guys started talking about it at lunch – not necessarily to me but I could hear them talking about it. I should have left that one, perhaps, but threw the kitchen sink at it instead. But, although I work hard at it, batting is not really the reason why I am in the team.”

Did it exorcise the ghosts of Headingley? “Obviously it was disappointing at Headingley, and that makes one cherish these moments when they take place.”

Anderson also did not feel that the Indians erred by bowling short at him. “I think I would have bowled short to me.”

Finally he dwelt on his experiences on reaching his half century. “I actually did not know about it and Joe [Root] came down the wicket to tell me I had got there. I raised my bat to the pavilion, because I had seen players do that when they get to a fifty or a hundred.”

(Arunabha Sengupta is a cricket historian and Chief Cricket Writer at CricketCountry.He writes about the history and the romance of the game, punctuated often by opinions about modern day cricket, while his post-graduate degree in statistics peeps through in occasional analytical pieces. The author of three novels, he can be followed on Twitter at http://twitter.com/senantix)