James Anderson made a stunning return to Test cricket as the veteran England paceman set Lord’s ablaze with his remarkable display of swing and seam bowling against New Zealand on Thursday.
Anderson didn’t feature in England’s series loss to West Indies in the Caribbean and immediately made an impact on the game, having dismissed both the Kiwi openers in his opening burst at the home of cricket.
With the ball moving around considerably, Anderson and his pace partner Stuart Broad kept troubling the opposition’s top-order batters.
Will Young was the first to go in the third over of the innings, having caught in the slips by Jonny Bairstow for a score of 1. His partner Tom Lathan managed to survive a few tentative pokes outside his off-stump, but couldn’t avoid the temptation for too long as he departed in the fifth over for a 17-ball 1.
James Anderson went on to take two more wickets in the visitors’ innings as Kane Williamson and company were bowled out for 132, handing the home team a massive advantage on the opening day of the Test match.
His last two victims were Kiwi tailenders Kyle Jamieson and Tim Southee who were caught by the Three Lions’ third speedster Matthew Potts before accumulating 6 and 26 runs respectively.
36 balls 🔴
5 maidens ⛔
4 Runs 🏏
2 Wickets ☝
Every ball from Jimmy's opening spell 😍 pic.twitter.com/BNcyQSgZ2t
— England Cricket (@englandcricket) June 2, 2022
James Anderson, however, wasn’t the pick of the England bowlers. Instead, it was Potts who stole the limelight from the great man as he finished with figures of 13/4 in New Zealand’s first essay.
Potts got the all-important wicket of dangerman and rival team skipper Kane Williamson. He followed that dismissal by sending middle-order batters Daryl Mitchell and Tom Blundell back to the pavilion before bagging his fourth wicket in the form of Ajaz Patel who was given out LBW for 7.
Despite Potts’ fine show, James Anderson got the social media talking with many cricket fans hailing him for putting the hosts in the driver’s seat in the Test match.
“James Anderson made his Test debut way back in 2003 against Zimbabwe by picking a fifer on debut at Lord’s. And now 19 years, at the same Lord’s, he’s picked 4/66 upon his return after being dropped. One of the greatest Red Ball bowlers of all time, take a bow, Jimmy!” an admirer wrote on Twitter.
“James Anderson got better by age, especially after 35, very very rare in any format of the game by a pace bowler,” another said.
“James Anderson has now taken more Test wickets since his 30th birthday than Waqar Younis claimed in his entire career.” a third claimed.
“The fitness and Stamina Of James Anderson is matchless. Even an 18 years Bowler can’t bowl 16 overs on a trot with a same line and Length. He is 40 years old and in the last phase of his career sine 2017. World cricket will never see a player like him in near future,” a fourth supporter added.
“Cricket is lucky to have James Anderson playing at 39. 170 test matches ain’t no joke for a pacer,” a fifth declared.
James Anderson ageing Like a Fine Wine!🤍 pic.twitter.com/ke0jbJMUIJ
— Ruhi. (@rohitian___45) June 2, 2022
James Anderson is surely the greatest fast bowler🔥 pic.twitter.com/ORyA0WWlsP
— Div🦁 (@div_yumm) June 2, 2022
Even former India captain and current Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) chief Sourav Ganguly enjoyed Anderson’s opening spell as he watched the action unfold on television at home.
As James Anderson continued to bother the Kiwi batters with his immaculate line and length in the corridor of uncertainty, Ganguly was highly impressed with the legendary fast bowler’s effort.
Dada, as Ganguly is affectionately called was so happy with James Anderson’s show that he shared a video clip of the bowler in which he’s seen posing several questions to the New Zealand batsmen.
“How fresh this is. Red ball swinging start of a test match, nothing better in sport with cricket in whites ..morning of a test,” Ganguly said.
How fresh this is . Red ball swinging start of a test match ,nothing better in sport with cricket in whites ..morning of a test .@bcci@ECB pic.twitter.com/3blP2EBLsD
— Sourav Ganguly (@SGanguly99) June 2, 2022
With 644 wickets to his name, James Anderson is the third-highest wicket-taker in Test cricket behind Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan and late Australian Shane Warne. While Warne finished his career with 708 wickets, Muralitharan remains the only bowler to reach the 800-wicket milestone in whites.
However, James Anderson has taken the most wickets among fast bowlers. He’s currently playing in his 170th Test match.
Meanwhile, on Thursday, James Anderson also broke a 113-year-old record.
The Englishman became the oldest ever bowler to bowl the first delivery in a Test match at Lord’s. At 39 years and 307 days, Anderson went past the previous record held by Australia’s Frank Laver who was 39 years and 189 days old in 1909.
The way James Anderson is bowling at present, many such feats could be around the corner. Cricket fanatics should just wait and watch before he mesmerises them with a series of wonderful deliveries.
Till then they should enjoy what is on offer in the ongoing first Test match against New Zealand at Lord’s.