James Anderson’s parched run hurting England

James Anderson has played a huge role in England’s rise to the top in the recent times. He is England’s most prolific red ball bowler and during the tour of West Indies earlier this year, Anderson made his 100th Test appearance special by surpassing legendary Ian Botham’s record of 383 wickets in Tests. He soon entered the 400-club but Anderson hasn’t inspired enough confidence in the ongoing Ashes series and that’s something which has hurt England massively.

Australian batsmen have come out with a strategy to tackle the lethal swing of Anderson. They have realised their need to bid time against the new ball especially against Anderson. Unlike England, Australian openers left the ball alone outside off-stump and therefore left no room for error against Anderson. There was nothing fascinating from him in both the Tests and this anomaly is best explained when we look at his recent stats.

In the series so far, Anderson has only picked three mere wickets in four innings. To add to his woes, he remained wicket-less on three occasions. His jinx against the Aussies at Lord’s continued in the second Test too as he didn’t manage to pick a single wicket. He didn’t bowl too badly on the docile surface of Lord’s and got reasonable amount of swing with the new ball but didn’t really threaten the batsmen. Against Australia, Anderson at Lord’s has picked only seven wickets in three Tests at an awful average of 51.14. To be more precise, in last four Test matches which he has played, he has picked nine wickets at an average of 52.33.

Anderson’s form has been a big drawback and probably one of the main reasons why England were defenseless at Lord’s. A lot of responsibilities depend on his experienced shoulders as he is England’s pace spear-head having an experience of 106-Tests. He is usually a good exponent of the English conditions but surprisingly he hasn’t really managed to swing the red ball enough.

His only moment of glory in the series came in the first innings of the Cardiff Test where he picked three wickets. If Anderson doesn’t fire then England is bound to struggle to pick the 20 Australian wickets to win a Test.

Even in the Cardiff Test, more than the English batsmen it was the Aussie batsmen who gave their wickets cheaply. They quickly learned and turned it around the next time. If England are eyeing for the Urn, it is pivotal that Anderson should rediscover his inner-prompting. After all, he is a world class bowler known to play with batsmen’s mind. It was only a year back when he was troubling Virat Kohli who is one of the best batsmen in current world cricket. He has proved it before that he can fire any moment but Edgbaston is the right time to do so before it is too late.

 

(Suraj Choudharian avid cricket follower who plays the sport at club level, is a staffer with Criclife)

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