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'King of Swing' James Anderson to play his last Test at Lord's against West Indies

James Anderson announces his retirement from Test cricket after Lord's test against West Indies. James Anderson is the only fast bowler to take 700 Test wickets in the history of game.

Ind vs Eng 2nd Test Day 2 Highlights_ James Anderson took 5_62 in the 2nd Test. It was his 31st career 5-fer. (Images_ ©X_Twitter)
James Anderson to retire from Tests (Images: ©X/Twitter)

James Anderson, the legendary England fast bowler, recently announced his retirement from international cricket. The first Test match of the English summer at Lord’s against West Indies will be the last of his 188-match Test career.  Only Sachin Tendulkar (200) has played more Test matches than the soon to be 42 years old evergreen bowler.


With this, an era which started way back in 2003, incidentally at the same iconic venue, is set to end. Anderson played his maiden Test match against Zimbabwe and held his forte as one of the leading pacers for the next 21 years.


During this remarkable run where he managed to capture an astonishing 700 wickets, Anderson has seen many of his peers & compatriots come and go. While some of them succeeded at the highest level as him, some faded away after initial success. But none of them had the longevity like Anderson.


James Anderson - Master of his craft

For a pacer to play with the same consistency for more than two decades is an achievement in itself. This speaks volumes about his discipline, work ethic and approach to the game. His smooth bowling action can be cited for him remaining injury-free for a large part of his career. 


Though not express pace, his skillset to swing the ball both ways and keeping the batters at bay with his tight line & lengths made him what he is today. Bowlers as they get older, tend to lose much of their zeal, resulting in diminishing returns. But in the case of Anderson, he only grew stronger and deadlier as his career progressed.



Succeeded against the best of each generation

Throughout his long journey at the highest level, Anderson fought toe-to-toe with some of the best batters and with great success. During his era, England’s major Test opponents in terms of quality and frequency of battles were India, Australia and England.


For instance, Anderson has bowled to some of the generational batting talents from India and did so with appreciable success. Sachin Tendulkar, arguably one of greatest Test batters of all time has come second best in battles with Anderson. The veteran pacer has dismissed the star batter from India the most times in Test cricket (9) while conceding only 209 runs.


This includes some memorable matchups during India's 2007 Test series in England where Anderson, still early into his career, dismissed him thrice. Another famous battle between the two took place when India toured England in 2011. Anderson had the prized scalp of Sachin twice, thwarting attempts made by the latter to reach the elusive 100th ton. 


India vs England 1st Day 2_ James Anderson bowled Virat Kohli for a golden duck. (Image_©England Cricket_Twitter)
Anderson has got Kohli 7 times in Tests (Images: ©EnglandCricket/Twitter)

Fast forward three years, Anderson was involved in yet another fierce rivalry with Virat Kohli, one of the best batters in the modern era. Virat entered the series as India’s best batter, but Anderson grabbed his wicket four times, conceding just the 19 runs. Though Anderson had limited success against the batter post that series, this matchup remained the talking point whenever the sides met. In all, Anderson has sent Virat back to the pavilion seven times in 710 balls with the latter scoring 305 runs. 


If that wasn’t enough, Anderson’s wicket-taking spree continued against the next generation of India batters. Shubman Gill, an upcoming India batter has largely faced trouble while facing the England stalwart. The young batter in his brief career was dismissed six times in Tests by Anderson and has just scored 91 runs.


These matchups are a mere sample to explain James Anderson’s greatness against the best of the bests in cricket at various points of his journey. At most stages of his career, Anderson has been able to reinvent himself with regards to the demands of the game.


Though the pacer tasted success in each of the countries he has played in, Anderson was at his finest in England. At home, he played in 105 Tests, picking a whopping 434 wickets at a sensational average of 24.50, taking 24 five-wicket hauls.


Statistical data of James Anderson, the Test cricketer over the years

Years

Matches

Wickets

Average

Best

5w/10w

2003-2007

20

62

39.21

5/16

3/0

2008-2012

57

226

27.98

7/43

9/1

2013-2017

56

234

23.60

7/42

13/2

2018-Present

54

178

24.11

6/17

7/0

Overall

187

700

26.53

7/42

32/3

Key Insights from James Anderson's Test Career
  • 57 are the maximum wickets he has taken in a calendar year. Anderson did so in 2010 where his average was 22.96 from 12 Tests. The other times he picked more than 50 wickets in a calendar year are 52 in 2013 and 55 in 2017.

  • In 2017, he picked five-wicket hauls on four occasions, the most by him in a calendar year. He averaged a stunning 17.58 in 11 games.

  • Anderson is the first bowler to mount the 600 and 700 wickets landmark among the pacers in Test cricket.

  • He is currently the third highest wicket-taker in the history of Test cricket behind Shane Warne (708) and Muthiah Muralidaran (800).

  • He has the most wickets taken via caught (467) and second most through the mode of bowled (137). 


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