James Anderson won this match for England. 5-87 and 4-38. Those are bowling figures that make a difference. James Anderson is now a bowler who makes a difference.
‘Yeah, against the Windies. Wait until he’s playing Australia later in the summer,’ some of you might say. To which we would reply: ‘Shut up.’
We might even add a ‘get out’ for good measure. You can’t always be negative and pessimistic. Trust us. We know. We’ve gone down that particular road so you don’t have to. Pretty soon you get to a point where a Lancashire swing bowler takes nine wickets and the pessimism’s knocked out like an off stump on a cloudy day.
Anderson’s always bowled some dynamite away swing, but the inswing and the putting-it-wherever-he-damn-well-pleases elements have elevated his bowling considerably. He’s a bowler who expects wickets now and he’s confident enough to give a few batsmen a send-off. Good stuff. It’s the way it should be.
Watching him bowl to Jerome Taylor in the second innings was a highlight. Now Jerome Taylor’s no great shakes as a batsman, despite his Test hundred, but there didn’t seem a point where James Anderson wasn’t going to get him out. Beating the bat a couple of times and feeling hard done by is one thing, but this was just a matter of time. Anderson eventually concluded that being as Taylor couldn’t lay bat on ball, it might be an idea to swing one towards off stump.
Thock. Job done.