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

Mat Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave SR 4w 5w 10
99 185 22114 11295 380 7/43 11/171 29.72 58.1 21 16 2

 

His record – home and away

Inns Overs Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave SR 5/10
home 2003-2014 110 2212.3 6597 250 7/43 11/71 26.38 53.1 13/2
away 2003-2014 69 1365.2 4449 121 5/63 8/161 36.76 67.7 3/0
neutral 2012-2012 6 107.5 249 9 3/35 4/86 27.66 71.8 0/0

 

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

Bowler Inns Balls Runs Wkts BBI BBM Ave SR 5w 10
G McGrath 195 23538 9801 451 8/38 10/127 21.73 52.1 24 3
W Akram 175 21975 9478 409 7/119 11/110 23.17 53.7 25 5
S Pollock 186 22842 9095 391 7/87 10/147 23.25 58.4 16 1
M Ntini 189 20660 11128 390 7/37 13/132 28.53 52.9 18 4
I Botham 166 21671 10817 383 8/34 13/106 28.24 56.5 27 4
J Anderson 191 22114 11295 380 7/43 11/171 29.72 58.1 16 2
C Walsh 183 21407 9412 367 7/37 13/55 25.64 58.3 15 2
K Dev 171 21000 10222 354 9/83 11/146 28.87 59.3 21 2
C Vaas 173 21331 9555 325 7/71 14/191 29.4 65.6 11 2
J Kallis 162 13385 6252 197 6/54 9/92 31.73 67.9 4 0

 

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
K Dev Pak Karachi 15-Nov-89 69/4 82/3
I Botham NZ Wellington 6-Feb-92 53/1 23/2
C Walsh Eng Guyana 27-Feb-98 47/2 25/3
W Akram Eng Faisalabad 29-Nov-00 69/1 13/0
G McGrath Ind Nagpur 26-Oct-04 27/3 79/2
S Pollock NZ Centurion 15-Apr-06 45/2 20/0
J Kallis NZ Centurion 15-Apr-06 41/1
C Vaas Eng Kandy 1-Dec-07 76/2 56/3
M Ntini Eng Centurion 16-Dec-09 78/2 41/0
J Anderson

 

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

Bowler Inngs Wkts Avg
G McGrath 34 69 23.1
C Walsh 31 77 20.53
K Dev 126 249 29.35
S Pollock 29 59 21.67
W Akram 99 216 22.28
M Ntini 32 48 34.52
I Botham 14 35 26.31
C Vaas 115 218 26.93
J Kallis 19 16 35
J Anderson 26 42 32.21

 

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

Bowler Inngs Wkts Avg
G McGrath 103 229 22.5
C Walsh 47 90 26.98
K Dev 16 34 25.41
S Pollock 29 58 29.24
W Akram 28 86 20.05
M Ntini 18 25 45.36
I Botham 46 96 28.16
C Vaas 24 53 28.69
J Kallis 23 20 49
J Anderson 35 61 37.8

 

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

Bowler Inngs Wkts Avg
G McGrath 22 68 18.27
C Walsh 31 53 31.9
K Dev 16 36 34.44
S Pollock 16 35 25.25
W Akram 20 48 26.58
M Ntini 21 43 35.93
I Botham 94 226 27.27
C Vaas 10 9 77.66
J Kallis 15 25 26.72
J Anderson 110 250 26.38

 

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

Bowler Inngs Wkts Avg
G McGrath 9 35 22.14
C Walsh DNP DNP DNP
K Dev DNP DNP DNP
S Pollock 101 219 21.27
W Akram 11 24 30.12
M Ntini 106 250 24.23
I Botham DNP DNP DNP
C Vaas 21 41 30.75
J Kallis 89 114 29.55
J Anderson 9 18 38.72

 

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

Bowler Inngs Wkts Avg
G McGrath 20 50 20.7
C Walsh 74 147 25.24
K Dev 13 35 23.11
S Pollock 11 20 28.75
W Akram 17 35 26.88
M Ntini 12 24 30.54
I Botham 12 26 39.5
C Vaas 3 4 50.75
J Kallis 16 22 30.68
J Anderson 5 9 38

 

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.