England seamer James Anderson has collaborated on two books titled ‘My Story’ and ‘Bowl Sleep, Repeat’. The latter is a more apt title for the most successful pace bowler in Tests. As that is what he does. Day in and day out. If he chooses to write a third one, he can title it: ‘My Romance With The Cricket Ball’!
The Lancastrian brought into play every nuance and skill in his armoury, bowling with multiple grips and using the bowling crease expertly, to end with 5-62 and go on the famous honours board at Lord’s for the seventh time. It was the fourth time that he had taken a five-for at Lord’s against India since 2007, to dismiss the visitors for a disappointing 364 after starting Day Two of the second Test at a dominant 276 for 3.
India lost seven wickets for 88 runs on Friday and ended way short of their expected target of 450.
The visitors curiously chose to not open with Mohammed Shami with the new ball, giving it to an undercooked Ishant Sharma instead. After tea, they got their bowling plans right with Mohammed Siraj getting Dom Sibley and Haseeb Hameed off successive balls to start India’s fightback.
However, two comical LBW reviews off successive overs against Joe Root (batting 49) in which Siraj was seen goading skipper Kohli to take the review despite Rishabh Pant saying not to, as the ball was clearly missing leg-stump, seemed to distract the bowlers.
It even sent social media in a tizzy with ‘DRS…don’t review Siraj’ trending for a while! Root and Rory Burns went about the task of rebuilding the innings and just when it thought England would end Day two owning all three sessions, Shami struck with the wicket of Burns for 49, trapping him legbefore. England will start Day Three at 119 for 3.
Earlier, centurion KL Rahul’s (129) departure off the second ball of the day, driving loosely to Ollie Robinson and spooning it to extra cover, started the slide.
Anderson, who banished all fitness fears by bowling 29 overs, then dismissed Ajinkya Rahane off the first ball he bowled. The Indian vice-captain poked at an away-swinger and edged it to Root at first slip.
Pant and Ravindra Jadeja added an enterprising 49 for the sixth wicket, with Pant using the batting crease smartly to throw the bowlers off their line and length. Once the aggressive keeper-bat departed for a buccaneering 37, Jadeja was left with the unenviable task of batting with the long tail to take India to 364.
Anderson is 39 years and 14 days old, an age appropriate to sip the famous tea and devour the cucumber sandwich in the Members Stand, not make your body undergo complicated things and bowl fast.
On Friday, he became the oldest pacer to take a five-for since South Africa’s Geoff Chubb took 6/51 vs England at Old Trafford in 1951. Chubb was 40 years and 86 days.
Like Aussie great Glenn McGrath, he likes the big scalps. When he featured against India in 2007, his action was a bustling one with all arms and legs with the head looking down at the point of delivery.
His victims then included Sachin Tendulkar, Rahul Dravid and Sourav Ganguly. 14 years later, his five-for had Rohit Sharma, Cheteshwar Pujara and Ajinkya Rahane. All with classic set ups. His action now is as smooth as a Rolls Royce, his head and eyes fixed on his prey.