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."

Travel
travel
News
Tim Vine has won the funniest joke award at the Edinburgh Festival 2014
peopleTim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
News
Jamie and Emily Pharro discovering their friend's prank
video
Arts and Entertainment
Taylor Swift crawls through the legs of twerking dancers in her 'Shake It Off' music video
musicEarl Sweatshirt thinks so
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Our resilience to stress is to a large extent determined by our genes
science
Travel
travel
Sport
sportBesiktas 0 Arsenal 0: Champions League qualifying first-leg match ends in stalemate in Istanbul
News
Pornography is more accessible - and harder to avoid - than ever
news... but they still admit watching it
Arts and Entertainment
The eyes have it: Kate Bush
musicKate Bush asks fans not to take photos at London gigs
News
i100
Sport
Manchester United are believed to have made a £15m bid for Marcos Rojo
sportWinger Nani returns to Lisbon for a season-long loan as part of deal
News
news
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
O'Toole as Cornelius Gallus in ‘Katherine of Alexandria’
filmSadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Life and Style
fashion
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

Ferguson: In the heartlands of America, a descent into madness

A descent into madness in America's heartlands

David Usborne arrived in Ferguson, Missouri to be greeted by a scene more redolent of Gaza and Afghanistan
BBC’s filming of raid at Sir Cliff’s home ‘may be result of corruption’

BBC faces corruption allegation over its Sir Cliff police raid coverage

Reporter’s relationship with police under scrutiny as DG is summoned by MPs to explain extensive live broadcast of swoop on singer’s home
Lauded therapist Harley Mille still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Lauded therapist still in limbo as battle to stay in Britain drags on

Australian Harley Miller is as frustrated by court delays as she is with the idiosyncrasies of immigration law
Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world. But could his predictions of war do the same?

Lewis Fry Richardson's weather forecasts changed the world...

But could his predictions of war do the same?
Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs: 'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

'I want to have contact with the audience, not iPhones'

Kate Bush asks fans not to take photos at her London gigs
Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities, but why?

Young at hort

Under-35s have rated gardening in their top five favourite leisure activities. But why are so many people are swapping sweaty clubs for leafy shrubs?
Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award: 'making a quip as funny as possible is an art'

Beyond a joke

Tim Vine, winner of the Funniest Joke of the Fringe award, has nigh-on 200 in his act. So how are they conceived?
The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

The late Peter O'Toole shines in 'Katherine of Alexandria' despite illness

Sadly though, the Lawrence of Arabia star is not around to lend his own critique
Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire: The joy of camping in a wetland nature reserve and sleeping under the stars

A wild night out

Wicken Fen in Cambridgeshire offers a rare chance to camp in a wetland nature reserve
Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition: It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans

Comic Sans for Cancer exhibition

It’s the font that’s openly ridiculed for its jaunty style, but figures of fun have their fans
Besiktas vs Arsenal: Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie

Besiktas vs Arsenal

Five things we learnt from the Champions League first-leg tie
Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

Rory McIlroy a smash hit on the US talk show circuit

As the Northern Irishman prepares for the Barclays, he finds time to appear on TV in the States, where he’s now such a global superstar that he needs no introduction
Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to Formula One

Boy racer Max Verstappen stays relaxed over step up to F1

The 16-year-old will become the sport’s youngest-ever driver when he makes his debut for Toro Rosso next season
Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

Fear brings the enemies of Isis together at last

But belated attempts to unite will be to no avail if the Sunni caliphate remains strong in Syria, says Patrick Cockburn
Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I would end up killing myself in jail'

Charlie Gilmour: 'I wondered if I'd end up killing myself in jail'

Following last week's report on prison suicides, the former inmate asks how much progress we have made in the 50 years since the abolition of capital punishment