Who needs David Beckham in England when you have James Anderson to brighten up the sports pages. These would have been the thoughts of Michael Vaughan and his team following another extraordinary chapter in the fledgling career of this 21-year-old fast bowler. After taking five wickets on his Test debut in May, Anderson decided to go one step further here yesterday against Pakistan. With the last three deliveries of his ninth over he became the first England bowler to take a hat-trick in one-day cricket. Golden balls may be leaving the country but England can relax, another has arrived to take his place.
The Lancashire pace man, whose career is becoming a script that even J K Rowling would struggle to write, was not the only England player to shine in this crushing seven-wicket victory. Marcus Trescothick, who did his best to bring Twenty20 cricket to the international arena, ensured the 18,500 who attended did not leave south London feeling short changed.
For all of Anderson's efforts it was the Somerset opener who caused this game to finish at 4.25pm with 28 overs remaining. In an amazing innings that lasted just 55 balls Trescothick smashed 86 runs off an attack containing two of the fastest bowlers in the world. No bowler was saved from the full force of the 27-year-old's bat and the quicker Shoaib Akhtar or Mohammad Sami bowled the faster they travelled to the boundary.
The powerful left-hander's fifty came up with just the 37th ball he faced and on an excellent pitch and under a hot sun it contained 12 boundaries as if running between the wickets was not an option. After reaching his half-century Trescothick took the aerial route and hit two stunning sixes, one of which, off Shoaib, was a wonderful guided cut over third man.
In the eyes of television viewers, who voted on the award, Trescothick's innings was the performance of the match. With the three-game series now level at 1-1 all eyes will move to Lord's for tomorrow's final.
Another golden day for Anderson started with the very first ball of the match. To most fast bowlers this delivery is nothing more than a loosener but on this occasion Imran Nazir had no such sighters. Trapped plumb in front he became the first of four Pakistan batsmen to fall first ball.
Anderson had to wait 50 deliveries for his next success. With the fourth ball of his ninth over, and with Pakistan recovering well from the precarious position of 80 for 6, Abdul Razzaq slapped a good length ball low, flat and hard to Trescothick at mid-off. The catch was safely taken and Shoaib confidently strode to the crease with the score on 185 for 8.
After a quick word with Yousuf Youhana, who played beautifully in his unbeaten innings of 75, Shoaib took strike but could only edge the first ball he faced through to the safe hands of Chris Read behind the stumps.
Anderson was thus on a hat-trick and he was not the only England bowler to have put himself in that position. Darren Gough, who, against Australia in 1999, was the last Englishman to take a hat-trick in international cricket, was on one himself after dismissing Yasir Hameed and Younis Khan. Shoaib Malik, however, kept the third ball out.
Anderson's historic delivery evoked memories of Gough's in Sydney, in that it was a perfect away swinging yorker that the batsman, Sami, had little chance of keeping out. The lad who was playing club cricket for Burnley this time last year led England off to a standing ovation.
"When Gough was on a hat-trick the roar of the crowd was incredible, so it gave me goose bumps when I was running in to bowl," Anderson said. "It was crazy when it came off. They were all meant to be yorkers because I backed myself to get numbers 10 and 11 out if I got it up there.
"Sometimes I have to pinch myself," he added in reference to the remarkable start to his international career. "I just try to keep my feet on the ground because it has all happened so quickly. I think I can. I have a strong family and good friends and the lads in the England dressing room help me out. I'm not sure I'd like quite as much press and attention as David Beckham gets."
If Anderson carries on like this there will not be a great deal he can do about it. Do they play cricket in Spain?Reuse content