James Anderson - Record stand with Joe Root was first time I've enjoyed batting
Last Updated: 13/07/14 7:37am
England paceman James Anderson finally experienced the fun side of batting after posting the first half-century of his career during a stunning last-wicket partnership with Joe Root.
Anderson made 81 while Root finished on 154 not out as the duo shared in a Test-record 10th-wicket stand of 198 to help England make 496 in reply to India's 457 in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Anderson revealed he and Root had only initially meant to "annoy" the tourists on day four but, as the stand progressed, he began to really enjoy himself.
The 31-year-old, who has regularly been England's nightwatchman but whose previous best first-class score was 37, told Sky Sports: "I had really good fun today. It's probably the first time I've really enjoyed batting.
"It was a great effort. We just seemed to get on a roll last night, and I think overnight we both just thought that we could actually annoy the Indians today and stay out there a little bit.
"Obviously we didn't think anything like this could happen. We knew we still had a job to do this morning and we stuck at it brilliantly.
"It was good fun being out there. I wouldn't say it was easy but it was such a slow pitch that you knew there was only a few ways you could get out. If you had a good game plan you could stick in there."
Out of comfort zone
Anderson's reaction when reaching 50 was muted to say the least.
"Joe came down the wicket and said 'milk it' but I didn't really know what that meant so I just sort of did the rounds with the bat," he said.
"I've seen people point at the dressing room so I did that as well but that was it.
"I did think if I was ever going to get 50 it would be a wicket like this."
Anderson is no stranger to rearguard efforts, but they usually tend to involve hanging on for grim life without any attempt to build a score of his own.
He memorably achieved the feat alongside Monty Panesar to save a draw in the first match of the 2009 Ashes and was close to pulling off an even more unlikely rescue job against Sri Lanka at Headingley last month.
In the latter he was dismissed by the penultimate ball of the match, costing England the series, and that was still fresh in the mind as he reflected on a very different type of innings.
"Obviously it was disappointing at Headingley, you do have those moments but they make you want to cherish these ones all the more," Anderson said.
"I have had a few triumphs with the bat but I'm a No 11 and not a lot is expected of my batting: that's not why I'm in the team.
"But I've have had some success in the past grinding out draws. I maybe haven't had the runs but I've had to do certain jobs for the team."
India closed the fourth day on 167-3 in their second innings, for a lead of 128, and Root feels that a few early breakthroughs on Sunday could make things interesting.
Root said: "Obviously we're going to have to bowl well tomorrow, get some early wickets, but if we do you never know. We'll be itching in that dressing room to do so, let's hope we can."
'Difficult for bowlers'
India batsman Cheteshwar Pujara was philosophical about his side's inability to part England's final pair earlier than they did, bemoaning once more a surface that has become public enemy number one in both dressing rooms.
"It was disappointing not to get that wicket in the morning because we got seven early wickets on day three and their lower order batsmen did well for them," he said.
"We thought we could have got the last wicket earlier but with this kind of wicket it is really difficult for the bowlers.
"It's on the slow side and that's why it's difficult, it's hard for the bowlers when the balls gets old and we don't expect it to turn for the spinners."