England opponents beware. When James Anderson takes a wicket in his opening over you better watch out because he is likely to cause you untold problems and grab a bagful of scalps.
It was the case in Wellington, New Zealand, three months ago when Anderson snaffled 5-73 to secure England a much-needed victory, and at Lord's three weeks ago when he deserved far more than the three wickets he claimed. And it was the same here yesterday when he ripped out Aaron Redmond's off-stump with his third ball of the day before running through the Black Caps top order like a particularly potent laxative.
Anderson finished the second day of the third Test with Test best bowling figures of 6-42 as New Zealand were reduced to 96-6. It was a superb display of swing bowling, a performance that allowed England to take a finger-crunching grip on the Test and the series. It also gives him the outside chance of becoming the third bowler in the history of Test cricket to take all 10 wickets in an innings, although he will struggle to better Jim Laker's 10-53 against Australia at Old Trafford in 1956.
The haul completed a memorable day for Anderson who had earlier posted a Test best score of 28 with the bat as England took their first innings total to 364. His 76-run partnership with Stuart Broad, who struck a maiden Test half-century, allowed England to make a complete recovery from the position they were in at 2pm on Thursday. Then England, on 86-5, could only dream of amassing a score of such substance. Now, following significant contributions from Kevin Pietersen, Tim Ambrose, Broad and Anderson, they can look forward to a series victory and several celebratory glasses of pop in Nottingham.
Anderson's inconsistency remains one of English cricket's great mysteries. Self-belief has always been an issue for the 25-year-old, a mental state not helped by the selectorial uncertainty. The selectors are currently receiving criticism for the loyalty they are showing to a stuttering Ian Bell and Paul Collingwood, but the policy appears to be aiding Anderson, whose good days are now coming with greater regularity.
Anderson has always had the ability to produce unplayable, wicket-taking balls from nowhere and it was two such deliveries that accounted for Redmond and Brendon McCullum. Each lost his off-stump attempting to work what he thought was a straight ball through the leg side. It is an error caused by an away swing bowler who releases the ball from the middle of the crease.
Many away swing bowlers get in close to the stumps with the intention of pushing, as well as swinging, the ball away from a right-handed batsman. Matthew Hoggard and Terry Alderman have shown that the line of attack can bring success but at times bowlers of this type are easy to counter because the batsman often sees the ball swing early, which allows him to leave it alone.
A bowler who bowls from wider in the crease – further away from the stumps – has to angle the ball in to threaten the stumps, making the batsman feel as though he has to play at it. If the ball is too straight he often judges it is going down the leg side and tries to work it through the on side. If the ball then swings away, as Anderson managed to do, it can make fools of batsmen.
Away movement deceived Ross Taylor too, pushing hard at a ball and edging a catch to Pietersen in the gully. Daniel Flynn was trapped in front by a nip-backer and a weak waft from Jamie How, who batted well for his 40, gave Ambrose a simple catch. An uncertain Jacob Oram became Anderson's final victim when he timidly edged through to the keeper. When bad light brought a premature end to proceedings Anderson received his second standing ovation of the day.
The batting of Broad and Anderson gave Vaughan's side and a capacity crowd just the morning they wanted. There is something extremely comforting about Broad's presence at the crease. Unlike many lower order batsmen, who look nervous and out of their depth, the lanky left-hander is cocksure and seemingly at home. Broad's younger days, before he stretched out, were spent scoring runs at the top of the order and his footwork, whether he is playing forward or back, is decisive. His body language suggests that even an outside edge to third man is part of a cunning plan. He would hate bowling at himself.
Broad rode his luck. McCullum dropped a simple chance at slip when he was on 21, and Redmond grassed a difficult one-handed effort in the gully when he was on 46. In between he played several classy strokes, none better than back-foot and front-foot drives in the same Iain O'Brien over. Each raced through extra cover for four, the second stroke taking him past his previous highest Test score of 42.
A reason why Broad exudes confidence and seems destined for a long, successful international career is that he adores the big stage. He loves being the centre of attention, not quite in the manner of Pietersen, and he appeared to be teasing the crowd as much as himself when he reached 49. The departure of Anderson, who was caught behind off the bowling of Oram, failed to affect Broad, who blocked two maidens from Daniel Vettori when any other bowler would have attempted to hoick the spinner over the leg-side. Perhaps that is why he has the potential to post significant scores at number seven or eight and others do not.
In all Broad spent 25 balls on 49, finally bringing his maiden half-century up with a delightful clip off Vettori through mid-wicket for four. Reaching the landmark, and having just Ryan Sidebottom and Monty Panesar left to bat with, encouraged him to play a few more shots. Vettori was smacked back over his head for four, but the fun ended when Chris Martin bowled him.
England's recovery ended when Monty Panesar was adjudged to have given a catch to a close fielder. Panesar looked distraught with the decision, and he had every right to – the ball missed his bat. His irritation did not last long as Anderson provided the balm.
Shot of the day
*If Stuart Broad continues like this Andrew Flintoff could find himself at No 8 when he returns. Broad's best shot was an extra cover drive off Iain O'Brien. It raced through for four and took him past his previous top score of 42.
Ball of the day
*There is nothing an opening batsman fears more at the start of his innings than a full, fast away swinger. James Anderson produced such a ball with his third delivery and it tore the off-stump of Aaron Redmond out of the ground. An absolute ripper.
Moment of the day
*Bowlers rarely receive standing ovations for their batting, but a capacity crowd showed their appreciation to Anderson and Broad by reacting in such a way yesterday. Anderson seemed almost embarrassed by the applause; Broad was more nonchalant.
Trent Bridge scoreboard
New Zealand won toss
England – First Innings
(Overnight: 273 for 7)
S C J Broad b Martin......... 64
177 min, 132 balls, 10 fours
J M Anderson c Hopkins b Oram......... 28
117 min, 85 balls, 3 fours
R J Sidebottom not out......... 7
45 min, 34 balls
M S Panesar c McCullum b Vettori......... 0
3 min, 2 balls
Extras (b10 lb9 w1 nb4)......... 24
Total (520 min, 126.5 overs)......... 364
Fall (cont): 8-338 (Anderson) 9-361 (Broad) 10-364 (Panesar).
Bowling: Martin 22-5-83-1 (w1) (5-1-21-0, 1-0-6-0, 4-0-22-0, 2-0-12-0, 7-2-16-0, 3-2-6-1); Mills 31-8-76-3 (nb2) (8-2-19-1, 6-1-20-2, 5-3-8-0, 12-2-29-0); O'Brien 23-4-74-4 (nb1) (6-1-13-1, 6-1-20-1, 3-1-10-0, 5-1-18-2, 3-0-13-0); Oram 22-7-35-1 (5-2-10-0, 5-3-2-0, 4-0-12-0, 3-1-2-0, 5-1-9-1); Vettori 28.5-4-77-1 (nb1) (4-0-6-0, 9-0-31-0, 1-0-8-0, 3-0-10-0, 11.5-4-22-1).
Progress: Second day: 300: 426 min, 102.1 overs. Lunch: 341-8 (Broad 49, Sidebottom 3) 120 overs. 350: 498 min, 121 overs. Innings closed: 2.05pm.
New Zealand – First Innings
J M How c Ambrose b Anderson......... 40
123 min, 79 balls, 5 fours
A J Redmond b Anderson......... 1
6 min, 7 balls
B B McCullum b Anderson......... 9
18 min, 9 balls, 1 four
L R P L Taylor c Pietersen b Anderson......... 21
75 min, 50 balls, 3 fours
D R Flynn lbw b Anderson......... 0
3 min, 3 balls
†G J Hopkins not out......... 11
50 min, 22 balls, 1 four
J D P Oram c Ambrose b Anderson......... 7
26 min, 26 balls, 1 four
*D L Vettori not out......... 3
5 min, 4 balls
Extras (lb3 w1)......... 4
Total (for 6, 156 min, 33.2 overs)......... 96
Fall: 1-2 (Redmond) 2-14 (McCullum) 3-62 (Taylor) 4-62 (Flynn) 5-77 (How) 6-93 (Oram).
To bat: K D Mills, I E O'Brien, C S Martin.
Bowling: Sidebottom 11.2-1-36-0 (7-1-18-0, 4.2-0-18-0); Anderson 15-3-42-6 (w1) (7-0-25-2, 8-3-17-4; Collingwood 2-0-5-0, Broad 5-2-10-0 (one spell each).
Progress: Second day: 50: 73 min, 16 overs. Tea: 57-2 (How 23, Taylor 20) 19 overs. Bad light stopped play 5.08pm.
Umpires: S A Bucknor (WI) and D B Hair (Aus).
TV replay umpire: P J Hartley.
Match referee: R S Madugalle.
*TODAY: 21C. Partly cloudy. 10mph wind. 20 per cent chance of rain
*TOMORROW: 19C. Mostly cloudy. 8mph wind. 20 per cent chance of rain
*MONDAY: Partly cloudy. 10mph wind. 10 per cent chance of rain