Jimmy Anderson brushed against history again when he took his 300th Test wicket but it was the one which followed that was most crucial to England’s embattled cause.
It was a superb delivery that removed Ross Taylor, who came to Lord’s in career crisis after rancorous exchanges with his team-mates and failure in the Indian Premier League. However, Taylor also brought the most vital ingredient in such circumstances. This was a level of belligerent determination which threatened to change the pattern of a Test match which was supposed to see England exacting revenge for the pesky resistance displayed by their opponents on their own soil.
Also anticipated was an early Ashes warning to Australia. Instead, Taylor’s knock was nothing so much as a reproach to England’s front-line batsmen, and not least Ian Bell. Anderson’s intervention was thus especially valuable. It also reminded England they are supposed to be a world-class outfit.