James Anderson's best Test spells for England
By Sky Sports Cricket
Last Updated: 21/07/19 8:27pm
No seamer has taken more Test wickets than England's James Anderson and, although he turns 37 at the end of this month, there's every chance of him further increasing his tally of 575.
Anderson is currently nursing a calf injury and could sit out this week's Test against Ireland at Lord's, but the veteran paceman is optimistic he will be firing on all cylinders when the battle for the Ashes begins on August 1, live on Sky Sports Cricket.
Here are some of the key spells that have taken Anderson to the top of the heap during his remarkable 16-year Test career...
Trent Bridge tension (2013 Ashes) - 5-85 and 5-73
The first Test of the 2013 Ashes was a thriller, with 19-year-old Aussie Ashton Agar's 98 on debut, Ian Bell's first of three hundreds in the series, Stuart Broad's lucky escape when not given out off a thick edge to first slip, and Brad Haddin's 65-run partnership with James Pattinson.
Australia's last-wicket pair took them to within 15 runs of victory, but up stepped Anderson - with nine wickets already in the match - to find the inside edge of Haddin's bat through to Matt Prior.
Umpire Aleem Dar wasn't convinced, nor were many of the England fielders, who offered up a half-hearted appeal and belatedly reviewed the decision. The edge was confirmed, though, and Anderson led a jubilant England charge.
Anderson's 10-for was his second in Tests at Trent Bridge, having bagged career-best match figures of 11-71 against Pakistan at the venue in 2010 - the pacer's 5-54 first time around was good but he was unplayable in the second innings as he claimed 6-17 in 15 overs, with eight maidens to boot.
Dream debut (vs Zimbabwe, 2003) - 5-73
He was raw, he was unconventional and he was wayward at times, but boy was he exciting to watch!
Anderson had only played three one-day games for Lancashire when, as a 20-year-old, he was drafted in as a late replacement for England's ODI tour of Australia.
Impressive performances at the World Cup followed which meant that by the time the first Test of the 2003 summer came around a lot was expected of the newly-nicknamed 'Burnley Express'.
Anderson more than delivered on those expectations, with 5-73 against an albeit far-from-testing Zimbabwe outfit. He bowled full, fast, in-swinging yorkers, castling four of his five victims, including the aforementioned Vermeulen to get off the mark in Test cricket.
Long before Kevin Pietersen experimented with the colourful spectrum of hair dyes from his local Boots, Jimmy was setting the trend (if we want to call it that) by rocking some questionable highlights!
Triumphant return (vs New Zealand, 2008) - 5-73
Form and fitness had torn apart England's troublesome trio of Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones from the 2005 Ashes.
Harmison was still around, as was Matthew Hoggard for England's 2008 tour to New Zealand, but with the two returning combined figures of 2-272 in the first Test defeat in Hamilton, England moved on. Back in came Anderson, and Stuart Broad for only his second Test.
Anderson's Milestone Wickets
- 1. Mark Vermeulen, Zimbabwe
- 50. MS Dhoni, India
- 100. Jacques Kallis, South Africa
- 150. Graeme Smith, South Africa
- 200. Peter Siddle, Australia
- 250. Lahiru Thirimanne, Sri Lanka
- 300. Peter Fulton, New Zealand
- 350. Angelo Mathews, Sri Lanka
- 384. Denesh Ramdin, West Indies
- 400. Martin Guptill, New Zealand
- 450. Rangana Herath, Sri Lanka
- 500. Kraigg Brathwaite, West Indies
Anderson took seven wickets at Wellington, including a five-for in the first innings, and he and Broad would go on to form the foundation of a golden partnership that continues to this day.
Three straight Ashes triumphs spanning 2009-2013 followed, including a first win in Australia for 24 years, while the No 1 Test ranking was also secured.
Beating Botham (vs Windies, 2015)
Anderson overtook Sir Ian Botham to become England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker during the first Test against Windies - and the 100th of his career - in Antigua, with Denesh Ramdin becoming his 384th victim.
Alastair Cook showed safe hands in the slip cordon to take the catch, while Botham was the first to congratulate Anderson, even promising the seamer an enormous bottle of wine upon his return home!
Jimmy could not inspire his country to victory at North Sound, with Jason Holder scoring a defiant hundred to ensure the game ended in a draw, but the leader of England’s pack propelled his side to a win in the next Test, in Grenada, with a quite outstanding display.
Anderson had a hand in all six Windies wickets taken on the morning of day five, dismissing Kraigg Brathwaite with an absolute ripsnorter, Shivnarine Chanderpaul and Marlon Samuels, before taking two crisp catches and running out Holder with a direct hit.
He then took six-for in the third game in Barbados, before Windies stunned England to earn a five-wicket win and a series draw.
Headingley heroics (vs Sri Lanka, 2016) - 5-16 and 5-29
Going into the match in Leeds, Anderson told an interviewer that he had "wanted to turn round and go home" when he arrived at the Headingley gates in the past, such was his record at the ground. However, three days and 10 wickets later, the Lancastrian's feelings towards the home of Yorkshire cricket softened!
After England had made 298, Anderson came to the fore as Sri Lanka were skittled for just 91 - he had Kaushal Silva caught behind in his first spell but it was in his second that he really impressed to finish with 5-16.
If anything, Anderson stepped it up another gear in the second innings, with 5-29 as Sri Lanka were shot out for 119 to lose by an innings and 88 runs. Delight in Leeds, then, for Anderson, two years after his dismissal against Sri Lanka from the penultimate ball of the match left him in tears as England lost the Test and the series.
Anderson's new-found liking for Leeds was evident in August last year, when he bagged 5-76 in Windies' first innings to move onto 497 wickets. He went wicketless in their second as the tourists recorded a famous win but that meant he was able to collect his 500th scalp where his Test career began...
Reaching 500 in style (vs Windies, 2017) - 7-42
Anderson had Brathwaite and Kyle Hope caught behind by Jonny Bairstow in Windies' first knock at Lord's but was left stranded on 499 wickets as Ben Stokes bagged 6-22, all while locating swing that Anderson would be proud of.
England's premier paceman did not have to wait long for the milestone scalp though, castling Brathwaite three overs into Windies' second innings.
But wicket 501 perhaps topped it - Anderson bowling Kieran Powell with a superb delivery that swung in, nipped back off the seam and dislodged the left-hander's off-bail.
Anderson went on to complete a career-best 7-42, beating the 7-43 he had taken against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2008, as England won the game and the series - the seamer's five-for was his 24th in Tests and fifth at Lord's, with only Sir Ian Botham taking more five-wicket hauls at HQ, with eight.
First five-for down under (vs Australia, 2017) - 5-43
England's Ashes tour hadn't quite gone to plan, with no Stokes, a headline-making 'headbutt' and Joe Root's side relinquishing the urn at the earliest possible juncture, but there had still been time for Anderson to show his class.
A rare blemish in his career had been the fact he had never taken a five-wicket haul in Australia but he changed all that during the day-night Test in Adelaide, beginning on the evening of day three under the lights.
Anderson removed Cameron Bancroft and Usman Khawaja during a superb spell of seam bowling, before returning the next day to banish Peter Handscomb, Nathan Lyon and Mitchell Starc.
Anderson was definitely deserving of a beer, just perhaps not the way Ben Duckett administered it!
100 wickets at Lord's (vs India, 2018)
Anderson stamped his - and England's - authority on India early on in the second Test by bowling Murali Vijay with a beauty in the first innings on his way to 5-20, his sixth five-wicket haul at HQ.
The veteran revelled in the assistance offered by a spicy pitch, staying true to his mantra of bowling the best ball he could to create maximum pressure.
It paid off, as four more scalps followed in India's second dismal innings - Anderson finishing with match figures of 9-43 to improve his record at Lord's to 103 wickets at 23.89.
"It's such a special place to play," reflected the seamer. "You turn up here and it's just incredible. You get a real buzz when you come here, which probably helps me!"
By his own admission, the more Anderson plays at Lord's, the more adept he becomes at using the slope - so watch out Australia!
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