James Anderson, who ripped through the Indian batting on Day 5, admitted that England’s rest and rotate policy could see him sit out the second Test but stated that he would love to play back-to-back games. Anderson further revealed that he consciously adopted a defensive approach in 1st innings.
It is not often that a fast bowler can claim to be in the form of his life at 38, but James Anderson is an outlier. Having registered career-best subcontinent figures of 6/46 in Galle last month, the right-armer backed up the stellar showing with yet another match winning performance in Chennai. Using prodigious reverse-swing, the 38-year-old ripped through the Indian middle-order on the final day to finish with match figures of 5/63 and help England take a 1-0 lead.
Anderson would have been a guaranteed starter for the next Test in any other country, but England’s ‘rest and rotate’ policy, coupled with his age, means that there is every possibility that the veteran could sit out the second Chennai Test starting in four days’ time. Speaking post the match on Tuesday, the 38-year-old expressed that he would love to also play the second Test, but admitted that he respects the rotation policy, which could see Stuart Broad be drafted into the side.
"I guess when a batsman gets in rhythm and form they just want to keep batting and it's the same for a bowler - you want to keep that going as much as possible. But I'm very aware we've got four Test matches in quick succession here and there will be a need to rest and rotate,” Anderson said on Tuesday, reported Cricbuzz.
“I'm not presuming anything. I'll try and rest and recover from this game as best I can in the next day or two and get back in the nets and try and put my name in the hat for Saturday.”
Anderson struck in just his third over in the second innings, but the 158-Test veteran went wicketless in his first 15 overs in the first innings, where he adopted a more conservative approach to help the other bowlers. This duality was also visible in Sri Lanka, where, in the absence of reverse swing, he adhered to bowling tight lines and lengths, testing the batsmen’s patience rather than trying to produce something out of the ordinary. The 38-year-old revealed that he understands he has to perform different roles and insisted that he is more than happy to be a team man.
"I thought we were really good. We assessed conditions really well, set the right fields, we tried to keep the run rate down to a reasonable level and I thought everyone stuck to their gameplan. For me that first innings I felt I was the bowler to keep the run rate down, try and drive things up and let the spinners and Jofra attack a little bit more. In England it might be the other way around, the spinners have to do the drying up job.
"I'm very aware that could be my job out here and then you can attack more in the second innings if you do get reverse swing. It's just trying to manage that throughout the game and pick the right moment to attack and you know when to sit back and defend a little bit," said Anderson.
Indian seamers Jasprit Bumrah and Ishant Sharma, on Day 4, exploited patches on the wicket through reverse swing, but while they only managed to trap batsmen LBW, Anderson got stumps to cartwheel. The right-armer, however, revealed that he was originally only aiming to bowl a stump-to-stump line and the ‘bowled’ dismissals pretty much happened by accident.
"I didn't really do anything out of the ordinary from the plans we had. I was just lucky really with a couple that hit the bare patches, a bit of reverse as well, so we knew we just had to keep hitting those areas as much as possible and hopefully we'd get a couple to keep low or deviate. We got three or four throughout the day to do that so there was a bit of luck involved as well but I was happy with how it went."
"To be honest I was more expecting an lbw, one to keep low or a caught midwicket with one that stuck in the pitch a little bit. But it's always nice to see the stumps cartwheeling out the ground. It doesn't happen very often at my age so I'm really happy with it. It tops off a really good performance throughout the five days - it was a really solid and complete performance from the whole team.”