And batsman. Who knew?
Well, we all knew about the swing bowling. Trent Bridge might be the home ground of Ryan Sidebottom and Stuart Broad, but Jimmy Anderson’s the best swing bowler in this England side and he duly played a blinder, taking all six of the New Zealand wickets to fall.
Swing bowling dismissals don’t come more satisfying than Aaron Redmond’s and Brendon McCullum’s. It’s all well and good trying to work a straight ball into the onside, but when your off stump goes racing towards the sightscreen like it’s a solitary spoke in an invisible wheel, you know you’ve made a bad choice – a swig of aged milk kind of a choice.
Jimmy Anderson has the sense to bowl his full outswinger again and again when things are happening with the ball. There’s no point getting too clever. Crucially, he bowls an inswinger about once every four overs. It’s not really his wicket-taker, but it means the batsman tends to play at wider outswingers ‘just in case’. Wickets ensue.
Jimmy says himself that his bowling can go either way though. If his first over goes well, he feels confident and all’s dandy. If it goes badly, he tries to work out what’s going wrong and from there what’s usually going wrong is that he’s trying to work out what’s going wrong and getting all awkward as a consequence. It’s like when someone watches you walk and you suddenly turn into a robot with too few joints that’s being controlled by a ZX Spectrum.
It’s like that bit in Jurassic Park where Jeff Goldblum explains chaos theory by dropping a spot of water onto the back of a peaked hand, only instead of there being a multitude of potential outcomes, in Anderson’s case there are only two. Either the droplet goes down one side, marked ‘conceding seven an over’ or it goes down the other side marked ‘6-42’.
England v New Zealand, third Test at Trent Bridge, day two
England 364 (Kevin Pietersen 115, Tim Ambrose 67, Stuart Broad 64, Iain O’Brien 4-74, Kyle Mills 3-76)
New Zealand 96-6 (James Anderson 6-42)