Lonely years of toil bring reward for forgotten man

Among the most abiding images of all England's recent tours has been Jimmy Anderson bowling at a single stump. For over after over, hour after hour, day after day, practice after practice. Just Jimmy, the stump, often plastic, a few balls and a volunteer wicketkeeper.

This ritual has come to assume a strange fascination for observers. Frankly, if Mozart had rehearsed with this precision, his symphonies might have been improved, but where it was taking Jimmy was anybody's guess. He could hardly get a game.

Yesterday, at the Wankhede Stadium, after more than two years of work spanning four tours (and only two of the 15 Tests), the answer was provided. Anderson finished with first-innings figures of 4 for 40, not his best analysis but his most mature bowling, and helped to propel England to a position that had seemed unthinkable.

This, however, did not alone supply legitimacy to the one-stump routine. That came in the 84th over of India's innings, bowled by Andrew Flintoff, after Mahendra Singh Dhoni had hit its first three balls for four and was moving rapidly and frighteningly up the gears.

Dhoni shoved the fourth ball firmly on the leg side and dashed for a single. Anderson, coming in from midwicket to wide mid-on scooped up the ball in his right hand, looked up to be greeted with a familiar sight. All he could see was one stump. What might have discomfited some was normal service for Anderson. He hit it, and Dhoni, after several replays, was adjudged out.

Dhoni's scalp, to add to the wickets of Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid and two others later, made for an auspicious emergency return to the team. Anderson had little to say afterwards. He looks like the lead singer in a boy band, though unfortunately for those seeking soundbites is about a thousandth as loquacious.

But he said enough to reveal that it was his best day in a Test and that being sent back to play for Lancashire all last summer had done him a lot of good because it allowed him to get a lot of overs under his belt. He actually bowled 511 overs in the 2005 season, a third of his career total. Crucially, he was able to groove his bowling in matches. So what he did yesterday was not quite all the product of bowling at one stump.

Ball of the day

* Andrew Flintoff made his first ball count yesterday morning. He produced a lifter that flew past the shoulder of Yuvraj Singh's bat and thudded into the gloves of Geraint Jones. It deserved a wicket, unlike the ball which dismissed Yuvraj five balls later.

Moment of the day

* England fans wondered if they would ever again see James Anderson lead the side from the field. The sight of him doing this after taking 4 for 40 was uplifting for anyone who has followed his career.

Shot of the day

* Everybody loves a tail-ender who swings from the hips and Munaf Patel slogged James Anderson superbly down the ground for four. Anderson did not find it funny, but it brought the crowd to its feet and put smiles on the faces of a few in the press box.

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
The 67P/CG comet as seen from the Philae lander
scienceThe most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Ian McKellen as Gandalf in The Hobbit: The Battle Of The Five Armies
Arts and Entertainment
Sarah Koenig, creator of popular podcast Serial, which is to be broadcast by the BBC
tvReview: The secret to the programme's success is that it allows its audience to play detective
Ruby Wax has previously written about her mental health problems in her book Sane New World
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Daily Quiz
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

Career Services

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas