Accurate Anderson first to pass the 250 mark since Botham

 

To be spoken of in the same breath as Brian Statham is an accolade few deserve. Statham was one of the greatest fast bowlers who ever lived. Jimmy Anderson deserves it.

Anderson drew level yesterday with the tally of 252 Test wickets achieved by his fellow Lancastrian, on the way becoming only the sixth England bowler and the first for 30 years to reach 250. Ian Botham was the last man to pass that milestone. Anderson's exemplary efforts with the new ball on the first morning of the First Test against Sri Lanka gave England exactly the start they craved on a blisteringly hot day.

Striking twice in two balls in the third over, Anderson was at his precise peak, immaculate in length and managing those small degrees of movement which make batsman fret. There were two blemishes, both of which may be crucial, both of which concerned the opposition's captain. He twice dropped Sri Lanka's hero, Mahela Jayawardene, once on 64, once on 90, the first high and looping at slip, the second a return catch offered to a slower ball.

"If you had given us 290 for 8 at the start of the day we'd have taken it," said Anderson. "But we did have the momentum and didn't manage to finish them off. We had focused on that at the start of this trip, that catches are crucial to getting 20 wickets. A few of them weren't the most difficult catches and it's frustrating that they went down. But the more we dwell on it, the more frustrated we will get."

It might have taken the sheen off a day when he and Statham stood alongside each other, reserved Lancastrians both, happier out of the spotlight. Today or sometime later in this match Anderson will go ahead but there was something fitting about their being level last night, though Anderson, who had 3 for 56, might have had another two wickets had chances been taken.

Somehow it seemed a pity that Jimmy knew so little about the man who was always called George. "I have only heard things spoken about him, I don't really know much about him," he said. You might have thought he would want to find out.

Throughout a long career, Statham was a byword for accuracy and his mantra was always: "If they miss I hit." He did the simple things and he did them as well as any fast bowler before or since.

His successor as Lancashire's most successful Test bowler is grumpier, but the pair have plenty in common and there is not a jot of odiousness in comparing them as bowlers.

Statham's relentless accuracy is matched by Anderson's off-stump probing, arch manipulation and clever ways of setting up batsmen. It took Statham 70 Tests to reach his haul, Anderson has got there in three fewer and at 29 is six years younger. There is no reason now that he should not become the fourth England bowler to take 300 Test wickets.

"They are very nice landmarks," he said. "And it will be very nice when I retire and can look back at what I have achieved. For now I'm concentrating on getting two more wickets in this innings and 10 in the second."

While England should have dispatched Jayawardene, Anderson rightly had high praise for him. "It was one of the better Test innings I have seen," he said. "It was an incredible effort and he carried their team the whole day. He had the knack of knowing when to go for a big shot and knowing when to grind it out for a bit."

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Tangerine Dream Edgar Froese
people
News
Rob Lowe
peopleRob Lowe hits out at Obama's snub of Benjamin Netanyahu
News
Davies (let) says: 'Everybody thought we were having an affair. It was never true!'
people'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Arts and Entertainment
Over their 20 years, the band has built a community of dedicated followers the world over
music
News
Staff assemble outside the old City Road offices in London
mediaThe stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century at Britain's youngest paper
Life and Style
The Oliver twins, Philip and Andrew, at work creating the 'Dizzy' arcade-adventure games in 1988
techDocumentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Arts and Entertainment
Krall says: 'My hero player-singer is Elton John I used to listen to him as a child, every single record
music
News
Friends for life … some professionals think loneliness is more worrying than obesity
scienceSocial contact is good for our sense of wellbeing - but it's a myth that loneliness kills, say researchers
Arts and Entertainment
The Wu-Tang Clan will sell only one copy of their album Once Upon A Time In Shaolin
musicWu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own only copies of their latest albums
News
i100
Environment
Number so freshwater mussels in Cumbria have plummeted from up to three million in the 20th century to 500,000
environment
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Iraq invasion 2003: The bloody warnings six wise men gave to Tony Blair as he prepared to launch poorly planned campaign

What the six wise men told Tony Blair

Months before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, experts sought to warn the PM about his plans. Here, four of them recall that day
25 years of The Independent on Sunday: The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century

25 years of The Independent on Sunday

The stories, the writers and the changes over the last quarter of a century
Homeless Veterans appeal: 'Really caring is a dangerous emotion in this kind of work'

Homeless Veterans appeal

As head of The Soldiers' Charity, Martin Rutledge has to temper compassion with realism. He tells Chris Green how his Army career prepared him
Wu-Tang Clan and The Sexual Objects offer fans a chance to own the only copies of their latest albums

Smash hit go under the hammer

It's nice to pick up a new record once in a while, but the purchasers of two latest releases can go a step further - by buying the only copy
Geeks who rocked the world: Documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry

The geeks who rocked the world

A new documentary looks back at origins of the computer-games industry
Belle & Sebastian interview: Stuart Murdoch reveals how the band is taking a new direction

Belle & Sebastian is taking a new direction

Twenty years ago, Belle & Sebastian was a fey indie band from Glasgow. It still is – except today, as prime mover Stuart Murdoch admits, it has a global cult following, from Hollywood to South Korea
America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

America: Land of the free, home of the political dynasty

These days in the US things are pretty much stuck where they are, both in politics and society at large, says Rupert Cornwell
A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A graphic history of US civil rights – in comic book form

A veteran of the Fifties campaigns is inspiring a new generation of activists
Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

Winston Churchill: the enigma of a British hero

A C Benson called him 'a horrid little fellow', George Orwell would have shot him, but what a giant he seems now, says DJ Taylor
Growing mussels: Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project

Growing mussels

Precious freshwater shellfish are thriving in a unique green project
Diana Krall: The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai

Diana Krall interview

The jazz singer on being friends with Elton John, outer space and skiing in Dubai
Pinstriped for action: A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter

Pinstriped for action

A glimpse of what the very rich man will be wearing this winter
Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: 'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'

Russell T Davies & Ben Cook: How we met

'Our friendship flourished online. You can share some very revelatory moments at four in the morning…'
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef serves up his favourite Japanese dishes

Bill Granger's Japanese recipes

Stock up on mirin, soy and miso and you have the makings of everyday Japanese cuisine
Michael Calvin: How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us

Michael Calvin's Last Word

How we need more Eric Cantonas to knock some sense into us