VIDEO: James Anderson entwines magic against Sri Lanka at Headingley
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The red ball magician in contemporary cricket, James Anderson, once again lived to his reputation and wrecked havoc in the first Test against Sri Lanka at Headingley by scalping 10 wickets in the first Test. He steamed in and broke the Sri Lankan spine with his looming pace and fatal swing. Anderson in his enticing career has bowled those deliveries, which has acquired a special place in our memories. In modern era, whenever swing bowling is spoken about, the first name that pops to mind is Anderson, for his natural ability to swing the red cherry like a banana is charismatic. Many may not consider him as one of the greats but he is indubitably one of the best to have put in the hard yards.

Bowling with the new ball at Headinlgey is every bowler’s fantasy as it assists the seam bowlers and has been a nightmare for many geniuses with the bat. Anderson exploited the swinging conditions to the zenith and the result was astonishing. The Sri Lankan batsmen were hapless out in the middle and not only found it knotty to equip the moving deliveries but also the one, which held its line. READ MORE: When James Anderson went past Kapil Dev’s iconic 434 in Tests

Though people might say England mastered the home conditions and Sri Lanka is also not the only one to struggle in Ole Blighty but Anderson’s numbers of 10 for 45 is real and one just cannot deny his radiance. Anderson has plethora of variations up in his sleeves.

England were asked to bat first as Sri Lanka got it right at the toss. Sri Lankan bowlers made a mockery of English batsmen in their own den and proved Colin Graves’ idea of calling them ‘mediocre’ erroneous.  England were five men down for a mere score of 85 and disgrace was on the cards when their crisis man Jonny Bairstow turned things around. His strong-willed century helped England post 298 on the board and steered England in the driver’s seat.

Sri Lankan batman walked out in overcast conditions which was like an icing on the cake and venomous for the visitors. Stuart Broad drew the first blood and sent Dimuth Karunaratne back to the pavilion. Anderson’s first scalp was Kaushal Silva as he took the batsman by surprise with a quick bouncer, which budged in. Then it was Angelo Mathews, who was left bewildered with the noxious in swinger, which struck his pads. He managed three more to his name as Sri Lanka were bundled out for 91 by which England gained a vigorous lead of 193.

The beauty of a delivery came in the second innings to Karunaratne, pitched outside leg after which it just kept drifting away from the left-hander. A mystified Karunaratne had no idea whatsoever and got a nick to it as the ball flew in the hands of Bairstow behind the stumps. He was swinging and swinging it in the air, a panicky Sri Lankan line-up were left clueless as a result of which they floundered and managed just 28 more from their first innings score. England won the game by an innings and 88 runs and Bairstow walked away with all the glamour but there was one name that whispered in every English fan’s ears, and that name was Anderson. You may call him a Lion in his own den but actually, he is an artist with the red ball.  

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