In the wake of Jimmy Anderson passing the legendary Sir Ian Botham to become England’s leading wicket-taker of all time, we take a look at 10 Test matches that have shaped his career and led the Lancashire ‘King of Swing’ to write his own piece of sporting history.
A dream debut for the fresh-faced 20-year-old with the questionable highlights. Then billed as ‘The Burnley Express’, Anderson ripped into Zimbabwe at Lord’s. The full, fast, inswinging yorkers that would become his calling card were on full display, as was the stooping delivery, and the new boy would end the contest with an impressive haul of 5-73.
New Zealand 2008
The Test in which the building blocks for a fearsome strike partnership between Anderson and Stuart Broad were put down, with both still relative rookies on the international stage when they took to the field in Wellington. The former helped himself to seven wickets in total, including an impressive first innings five-for, before going on to demolish New Zealand again in the summer at Trent Bridge – finishing with figures of 9-98.
Widely recognised as a number 11 in every sense of the word when it comes to batting, Anderson helped England to the most dogged, and unlikeliest, of draws in the opening Test of the 2009 Ashes. With 18 overs to see out, ‘The Burnley Lara’ dug in heroically alongside Monty Panesar to frustrate Ricky Ponting’s visitors and spark an outpouring of emotion in the Cardiff dusk.
Anderson loves bowling at Trent Bridge, with there seemingly something in the Nottingham water that brings out the best in him. Pakistan found that out to their cost some five years ago now, with the tourists unable to live with movement off the deck as Anderson helped himself to a career-best haul of 11-71.
A rarity Down Under in as much as England travelled as favourites, and they did not disappoint. Anderson led the attack with verve and vigour, silencing those who doubted his ability to get as much out of the Kookaburra ball as he could the Dukes. He took 7-127 at the SCG as England breezed through the fifth Test and to a 3-1 series success.
Another historic series victory, with Alastair Cook’s men conquering India in their own backyard. Anderson, at the peak of his powers, seemed unfazed by subcontinent conditions, with patience and persistence delivering much-deserved rewards during the third Test at Eden Gardens – as he ended with 6-127.
New Zealand 2013
Ten years on from his dazzling debut, Anderson passed a notable career milestone at the home of cricket. Becoming only the fourth Englishman to take 300 Test wickets, New Zealand opener Peter Fulton played at a typically tempting outswinging delivery and nicked the ball through to Graeme Swann at slip.
More Ashes success for England on home soil, with Anderson playing another key role in helping them off to the perfect start. There were to be no heroics with the bat on this occasion, but back at Trent Bridge he was to be devastating with the ball. Australia needed just 15 to snatch an opening win from the hosts, but Anderson – who else – found an edge from Brad Haddin to spark wild celebrations and wrap up his second 10-wicket haul at his favourite venue.
— James Anderson (@jimmy9) August 12, 2013
Back we go to Trent Bridge, but this time with bat in hand. Records were sent tumbling again in Nottingham, with Anderson ensuring that England’s tail wagged ferociously alongside the more accomplished Joe Root. Contributing 81 – England’s highest score by a number 11 – Lancashire’s finest helped his colleague from Yorkshire to put on a history-making last-wicket stand of 198.
West Indies 2015
A fitting stage on which to pen another remarkable chapter in his cricketing career, with Antigua providing the backdrop for England’s most decorated strike bowler. Still only 32, it remains to be seen how many more matches and wickets there are to come – with there another meeting with old adversaries Australia looming on the horizon, with betting markets suggesting that England will need a spark from somewhere this summer if they are to recapture the urn.