Ring-rusty Anderson slow to get back into the swing of things

Paceman’s radar on the blink after his back-up role at World Twenty20

These are testing times for Jimmy Anderson. The man who prides himself on being the leader of England's attack was reduced to water carrier and net bowler during his country's World Twenty20 triumph in the Caribbean. Now he is being made to search unexpectedly hard for success against Bangladesh on his return to international cricket.

Wickets will come, surely, but left-handed openers Tamim Iqbal and Imrul Kayes denied Anderson the swift rewards he had envisaged when Andrew Strauss threw him the new ball at Lord's yesterday. Mind you, the boy from Burnley might have guessed that things would not go entirely to plan because it has been that sort of year so far.

True, Anderson bowled beautifully to finish the drawn Cape Town Test with eight wickets before 2010 was more than a week old. But, since then, he has missed out on a tour of Bangladesh for reasons of rest and recuperation following an unexplained knee injury and – much more painful, one imagines – found himself surplus to requirements, to general surprise, in Paul Collingwood's all-conquering Twenty20 team.

Yet, despite the progress made by Tim Bresnan, the promise shown by Steve Finn and Ajmal Shahzad and the re-emergence, at least in limited-overs cricket, of Ryan Sidebottom, it is impossible to overstate the importance of a fit and firing Anderson to England's Test prospects – especially with another Ashes campaign just around the corner. He has shown himself to be a class act, a bowler capable of swinging the ball both ways, and he deserved to be mentioned among the several candidates for England's outstanding player of the year award, even if the gong was always going to spinner Graeme Swann. But, so far as this summer is concerned, there is a bit of rust to shake off, and maybe a little of rethinking to be done. The rust is easily explained. Anderson was bowling well for Lancashire a month or so ago, taking nine Essex wickets in a championship fixture at Chelmsford, while reporting no discomfort from the knee that troubled him on South African soil. Had he gone straight from that game into a Test match then Bangladesh might have found him too hot to handle, but three weeks of net bowling against batsmen going through their range of Twenty20 shots is enough to leave anyone's radar on the blink.

There is a view, though, that while Anderson has become such a clever exponent of swing, both conventional and reverse, he sometimes forgets that keeping it simple is often the best approach. The bowler's former Test captain, Michael Vaughan, expressed just such an opinion yesterday while on duty for BBC Radio's Test Match Special, urging Anderson to try to hit the top of off stump while settling for a spell of controlled bowling.

As it was, the senior member – in Test appearance terms – of Strauss's attack generally bowled too short with the new ball and the nearest he came to success during his first spell was when Kayes edged him high over the slip cordon. More frustration followed afrer a breather and a change of ends, but maybe today will see Anderson back on a roll. It can happen that quickly, as Shahadat Hossain will confirm.

On Thursday, Hossain was among the fast bowlers who, in the words of coach Jamie Siddons, let Bangladesh down. Yesterday, he bowled terrifically well to finish with a five-wicket haul and a place on the Lord's honours board. No wonder the 23-year-old looked chuffed. He had not only righted the wrongs of the previous day but also banished the memory of a nightmare performance at Lord's in 2004 when 12 wicketless overs, on Test debut, cost him 101 runs.

  • Get to the point
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

The saffron censorship that governs India: Why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression

The saffron censorship that governs India

Zareer Masani reveals why national pride and religious sentiment trump freedom of expression
Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Prince Charles' 'black spider' letters to be published 'within weeks'

Supreme Court rules Dominic Grieve's ministerial veto was invalid
Distressed Zayn Malik fans are cutting themselves - how did fandom get so dark?

How did fandom get so dark?

Grief over Zayn Malik's exit from One Direction seemed amusing until stories of mass 'cutting' emerged. Experts tell Gillian Orr the distress is real, and the girls need support
The galaxy collisions that shed light on unseen parallel Universe

The cosmic collisions that have shed light on unseen parallel Universe

Dark matter study gives scientists insight into mystery of space
The Swedes are adding a gender-neutral pronoun to their dictionary

Swedes introduce gender-neutral pronoun

Why, asks Simon Usborne, must English still struggle awkwardly with the likes of 's/he' and 'they'?
Disney's mega money-making formula: 'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan

Disney's mega money-making formula

'Human' remakes of cartoon classics are part of a lucrative, long-term creative plan
Lobster has gone mainstream with supermarket bargains for £10 or less - but is it any good?

Lobster has gone mainstream

Anthea Gerrie, raised on meaty specimens from the waters around Maine, reveals how to cook up an affordable feast
Easter 2015: 14 best decorations

14 best Easter decorations

Get into the Easter spirit with our pick of accessories, ornaments and tableware
Paul Scholes column: Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season

Paul Scholes column

Gareth Bale would be a perfect fit at Manchester United and could turn them into serious title contenders next season
Inside the Kansas greenhouses where Monsanto is 'playing God' with the future of the planet

The future of GM

The greenhouses where Monsanto 'plays God' with the future of the planet
Britain's mild winters could be numbered: why global warming is leaving UK chillier

Britain's mild winters could be numbered

Gulf Stream is slowing down faster than ever, scientists say
Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Government gives £250,000 to Independent appeal

Donation brings total raised by Homeless Veterans campaign to at least £1.25m
Oh dear, the most borrowed book at Bank of England library doesn't inspire confidence

The most borrowed book at Bank of England library? Oh dear

The book's fifth edition is used for Edexcel exams
Cowslips vs honeysuckle: The hunt for the UK’s favourite wildflower

Cowslips vs honeysuckle

It's the hunt for UK’s favourite wildflower
Child abuse scandal: Did a botched blackmail attempt by South African intelligence help Cyril Smith escape justice?

Did a botched blackmail attempt help Cyril Smith escape justice?

A fresh twist reveals the Liberal MP was targeted by the notorious South African intelligence agency Boss