James Anderson has stated that the 2021 summer was his favourite contest with Indian captain Virat Kohli. The England pacer, who scalped 15 wickets during India's tour of England earlier this year, is now hopeful of carrying his good form to the Ashes series which begins on December 8.
India toured England this year for a five-match Test series, and the visitors claimed a 2-1 lead ahead of the fifth Test match in Manchester. The final test was called off due to rising covid concerns in the Indian camp.
The battle between Virat Kohli and James Anderson was one of the highlights of the Test series. The veteran England fast bowler levelled with Australia spinner Nathan Lyon on dismissing Kohli on seven occasions in Test cricket. Anderson scalped the wicket of Kohli twice across four Tests, including for a golden duck in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Anderson, who had failed to get past Kohli in 2018, stated that 2021 summer was his favourite contest against Virat Kohli. He further stated that both of them had mutual respect for each other on the field, and played in a well-spirited way.
"This summer was probably my favourite contest with Virat," Anderson told Fox Cricket. “We've had a few good battles over the years, both in England and India, but this year was certainly my favourite.
"I got him out a few times but also he got some runs as well, and we had a battle on the field where there was definitely a mutual respect there. It was in a really nice manner, if that makes sense. Obviously we were going at each other, but it was in a in a well-spirited way. So I really enjoyed that."
England will be up against the brilliant Steve Smith during the Ashes later this year. The right-hander had amassed 774 runs from seven innings at an impressive average of 110.57 in the 2-2 levelled series in England in 2019.
Anderson stated that as a bowler, he always looks for the wicket of the best batsman, and singled out Smith as Australia's best. He now looks forward to a challenge against another modern-day great.
"As a bowler you always look at the best player, and for me over the last three, four or five years, Steve Smith's been Australia's best player. He's been the one they rely on for their volume of runs, obviously supported by guys around him like [David] Warner and [Marnus] Labuschagne recently. But he's been their go-to in the last few years, so he'll be the one that we will be keen to get out early," Anderson said.
As Joe Root's men seek their first Ashes win sincee 2015, Anderson asserted that the first Test at Gabba is crucial for the team.
"We've got to start well. The Gabba in particular is huge for us," Anderson said of the series opener in Brisbane on December 8. "If we can get one-up on a few batters early, then that can have a real snowball effect throughout the series."
The 39-year-old highlighted the diffrence in conditions and challengers while bowling Down Under, as he looks forward to make a mark in what could be his last series in the country.
"Bowling in Australia is not necessarily more difficult, it's just different," he said. "In England the Dukes swings more often than not, and with the wickets we play on, you can get some seam movement as well. But you're not going to get much swing with a Kookaburra, so it's just about trying to hit good areas. You've just got to be relentless, and so accurate. And that's where people do struggle.
"I will do exactly what I did in our summer. Hopefully I'll be playing all five, but I'd be happy with three or four.”