Despite performances as a bowler that will place him among the finest ever to play for England, Jimmy Anderson will regard his astonishing, record innings of 81 as the most treasured memory of his career.
Anderson’s previous highest Test score was 34, and he had never made a fifty in any serious form of cricket. Yet when he and Joe Root resumed with England on 352 for 9, still 105 adrift of India’s first-innings total, Anderson quickly began to live up to his tongue-in-cheek nickname – the Burnley Lara.
As they drew closer and closer to India’s total, the records were ticked off one by one. By the time Anderson was last man out just 19 runs short of a century, he and Root had put on 198 – a world-record stand for the 10th wicket in Tests, taking England to 496 all out and a lead of 39.
“Of all the statistics, that will be my favourite,” said Anderson. “I thought on Friday night that if I was ever going to get a Test fifty, it would be on this wicket. I knew the short ball wasn’t going to get me out and that only certain deliveries would be dangerous.
“I should probably have left the delivery that got me out but I threw the kitchen sink at it. I was thinking about a century but I very much doubt whether I will ever get a score like that again in Tests.
“Lunch probably came at the wrong time for me, because it made me think about getting a century. I could hear other people in the dressing room talking about it. When you bowl on a pitch like that, you realise it’s hard to get people out. So when you come to bat, you know that if you have a clear gameplan and play straight, you can have some success.”
The work of Anderson and Root provided England supporters with a moment to celebrate, of which there have been all too few since the team were whitewashed 5-0 in the Ashes in Australia last winter. England will hope this momentum will allow them to test India today. The tourists resume 167 for 3, 128 ahead, although the nature of the wicket means that the draw is the most likely result.
Anderson continued: “The way Stuart Broad batted on day three was outstanding. It got us back firing and going in the right direction. The rest of us took heart from that and we knew we could bat on there.
“We also took heart from our partnership and took it out onto the field for the start of India’s second innings. We bowled well again and stuck at it all day. We got three wickets and hopefully we can chip away a few more in the morning.”
Clearly, there is something about Trent Bridge and last-wicket partnerships. In the Ashes here last year, Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes compiled 163 for Australia, which was a new global best then. Who would have thought their effort would have lasted only a year?
Do not forget, either, that India’s final pair, Bhuvneshwar Kumar and Mohammed Shami, posted 111 together on day two here. Never before had both last-wicket stands recorded 100-plus partnerships – as much a reflection of the dead track as the prowess of the batsmen, supremely well as all four played.
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara, dismissed for 55, admitted that India would have to concentrate more closely on the batting of England’s lower order following the events of this match.
From 202 for 7, England’s final three wickets took the team to 496. Pujara said: “We will have to look at the tail-enders and devise a strategy to get them out. It’s disappointing, because we got seven early wickets, but the lower order played really well. But we shouldn’t be disappointed with the bowlers’ performance. If you apply yourself on this wicket, it is very difficult to get out. There is not much turn.”
Senanayake banned by ICC
Sachithra Senanayake, the Sri Lanka off-spinner reported for an illegal action against England last month, has been banned by the International Cricket Council. He was called by the umpires in the one-day international at Lord’s on 1 June. He also courted controversy in the next ODI at Edgbaston, when he ran out Jos Buttler just as he was about to bowl.
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