India struggle to crack Anderson code

India struggle to crack Anderson code

England's James Anderson celebrates the wicket of India's Ishant Sharma. (Action Images via Reuters)

James Anderson is one code the Indians have found very hard to crack, especially on his home turf. Add Lord’s, overcast conditions and a pitch that offers assistance, he can be extremely devastating.


The 36-year-old pacer, nicknamed the ‘King of Swing’ in this part of the world, ran through the Indian side with another mesmerising performance. Thanks to Anderson's five for 20, India were shot out for just 107 in their first innings of the second Test.


It was his third five-wicket haul against India at the ‘Home of Cricket’ and his fourth overall. England’s most successful pacer, Anderson also left himself just one wicket short of completing 100 wickets at Lord’s.


The magical part about Anderson is the way he can swing the ball in both directions and the ability to maintain a high level of consistency in line and length. Ball after ball keeps landing in the same area and while the batsmen know what’s coming at them, they just have no choice but to face the bullets and hope for a reprieve sometime soon. The channel outside the off-stump preys on their ego and the one that comes in, luring them onto their front foot for the flick, before shaping away has often had many top-order batsmen flummoxed.


Indian vice-captain Ajinkya Rahane felt there’s very little one can do when a bowler of Anderson’s quality is on song. “You cannot be too harsh on yourself when you get conditions like this. James Anderson was really good (today). He bowled in the right areas. Think bowling 13-14 overs for 20 runs and getting 5 wickets is really good, that’s why he is a quality bowler.


“He didn’t bowl one short ball (today). He was just bowling consistently in the four-five metre length. That is really crucial on this wicket. If you’re bowling that length, you got to bowl consistently, then as a batsman you have to leave the ball or you’ve to back your methods consistently. You cannot think that if you play three maiden overs (you’ve done your job). You’ve got to be ready to play another three maiden overs after that. It’s all about patience in these conditions and trusting your methods and backing your ability.”


Apart from discipline, another fascinating part about Anderson is his endurance. He made his debut way back in 2003 and although he’s had his battles with a shoulder injury, he’s always managed to make a comeback and still lead the English pace attack with gusto. Anderson, on 549 wickets, reckoned he still has a lot to achieve and has no thoughts of hanging his boots anytime soon. 


“All I think about is getting my body in as good a condition as it can be to cope with bowling out in the middle. I was delighted with how many overs I bowled at Edgbaston. For my body to get through that at this age I’m really happy with. I think I’m doing the right stuff off the field. But I don’t think about numbers or my age, I feel like, I won’t say 28, but 32. I don’t feel old, I feel like I can still throw myself around in the field as well as anyone else so as long as I feel like that I’m just going to keep playing as long as possible. Hopefully the wickets will keep coming as well and I can help this team keep winning.”


With Anderson in that mood, it could only spell trouble for India. They really to find need some answers soon.

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