In the middle of the glitzy-glazy IPL season, England are going to take on the West Indies in a low key series for the Wisden trophy. But one man who would be raring to go will be England’s pace bowling spearhead James Anderson. He would be the 13th Englishman to reach the coveted landmark and no other Englishman has made it barring the all-rounder Ian Botham.
James Anderson’s bowling career
His record – home and away
James Michael Anderson made his test debut as a 20 year old against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in May 2003 following England’s debacle in the World Cup. He impressed immediately with a five wicket haul. Despite being a regular presence in the England ODI side, his appearances remained sporadic in test matches especially because of the pace quartet of Matthew Hoggard, Steve Harmison, Simon Jones and Andrew Flintoff. He played just 20 tests till the end of 2007. His breakthrough series came against New Zealand at home in 2008. He topped the bowling charts with 19 wickets in 3 tests at 19.31 including 7/43 at Nottingham in the series decider.
Anderson’s peaking coincided with the decline of Hoggard and Harmison. Jones was out of contention and injuries made test appearances of Flintoff less consistent. Since then Anderson has been spearheading the English attack along with Stuart Broad. This week’s article is about the legends who played a century of tests.
There are sixty players to play 100 tests with England leading with 13 players followed by Australia (12) and India (10). Anderson will only be the 10th fast bowler to reach this landmark including all-rounders. Courtney Walsh has played the most tests among pacers with 132 tests in a career spanning 17 years.
P.S. James Anderson record is after the completion of 99 test matches in all the tables below.
Fast bowlers career record on completion of 100 tests
We can see the impeccable record of Glenn McGrath after 100 test matches – his 451 wickets is way ahead of the rest of the pack. Other notable mentions outside the table are Sir Richard Hadlee (431 wkts in 86 tests @22.29), Sir Curtly Ambrose (405 wkts in 98 tests @20.99) and Dale Steyn (396 wkts in 78 tests @22.55). It safe to say Anderson is well behind the greats in terms of numbers but one has to give credit for his longevity in today’s hectic schedule. Among all the fast bowlers who made debut after 2000, he is the closest to play 100 tests (Kallis played 134 tests since 2000 but made his debut in 1995).
Fast Bowlers in their 100th test
|Bowler||vs||Venue||Date||Inngs 1||Inngs 2|
The 100th test match hasn’t been a happy occasion for the fast bowlers in general. The only one to have substantially good figures are Kapil Dev with 4/69 & 3/82. Can Anderson make the life tough for the batters from Caribbean? Only time will tell.
Performance in sub-continent after 100 tests
The barren sub-continent tracks have been the toughest for any fast bowler. Anderson’s average of 32.21 has left much to be desired. On the contrary, his nemesis Dale Steyn has been outstanding in the sub-continent conditions – taking 84 wickets in 31 outings at 22.64 and a wicket every 40 balls.
Performance in Oceania (Aus & NZ) after 100 tests
Another continent where Anderson has struggled is Oceania. He has had 3 tours to Australia – two of them resulting in 5-0 whitewashes and his that resembles very much his story. The conditions in these countries have been generally inimical towards visiting pacers but one man who stood tall was Wasim Akram. He averaged 20 runs per wicket and played most of his matches here during his prime when he was the best fast bowler in the world.
Performance in England after 100 tests
It’s safe to say James Anderson enjoys bowling at home. His average of 26.38 is the best for him in any country with U.A.E coming next with 27.66. He has taken exactly 250 wickets in England in 58 tests – the most by any bowler in England, 21 ahead of next placed Fred Titmus. But in terms of average he is only 32nd in the list for anyone woth 50 or more wickets.
Performance in Africa (SA & Zim) after 100 tests
In his two tours to South Africa he has taken 18 wickets at a hefty price of 38.72 per piece. Africa has been another place where bowlers were raring to go. South African pacers have been outstanding at home and almost unplayable most of the times. Their records speak volumes for themselves – Pollock (235 wkts @21.08), Steyn (227 wkts @21.43) and Allan Donald (177 wkts @21.64).
Performance in Caribbean after 100 tests
Anderson will be playing his 100th test in his second series in the Caribbean. On the previous outing he struggled taking just 9 wickets in 4 tests of the series in which high scoring draws were the order of the day.
Concluding from the numbers it’s safe to say Anderson hasn’t been quite the pedigree of the McGraths, Akrams or Pollocks, but he has certainly been a modern day great. He still possess the wily craft of swing bowling which earned him a large share of wickets. One of the exponents of swing bowling the modern day cricket, one just hopes he keeps playing and entertaining us for at least another 3-4 years.