Jimmy Anderson is never going to be short of a favourite memory, but even the traditionally dour leader of England’s attack was prepared to admit that getting India’s captain Virat Kohli out first ball yesterday in his first innings of this Test series was something a bit special. “You want to challenge yourself against the best and he certainly is one of the best,” said Anderson.
In the lead-up to this match, England’s talisman bowler has sought to downplay an ongoing battle with India’s leading man, saying he doesn’t mind who gets Kohli out as long as someone does. But there was no doubting the pleasure he took in the India captain’s wicket at Trent Bridge, running across the pitch with his teammates at his heels and a beaming smile on his face.
“I probably used some muscles that i don’t often use there, didn’t I?” said Anderson, whose grumpy persona has become as famous on his BBC podcast as it is on the field. “It was such a big wicket and to bowl the ball exactly where I wanted it to, and for him to nick it as well … getting Kohli out that early is quite unusual.” The wicket drew him level with Anil Kumble in the list of all-time Test wicket takers on 619 , but that was of less interest to him than the breakthrough for his team: “There was some emotion there, definitely, in the celebration,” he smiled.
The rain intervened in mid-afternoon just as England felt they were getting on top, and Anderson admitted his team wished they could have stayed out longer. “Once the cloud comes over here we’ve seen it can be quite bowler friendly, difficult for batting,” he said. But it didn’t detract from the “really good fightback” that England had shown. “We knew if we got one wicket we could maybe get a cluster, and that’s what we did. I thought we stuck at our task really well as a group.”
Anderson also praised Ollie Robinson’s mental approach to the match situation: “I think he’s a strong character,” and said he had demonstrated that he had “the skills to challenge any team in the world, any batsman in the world”. He also picked out Jonny Bairstow’s contribution, not least his run-out of Ajinkya Rahane. “I thought he was on fire all day, really,” said Anderson. “His energy is really infectious and drags the team along with him.”
Of his England teammate Jofra Archer, Anderson said: “It’s a huge disappointment for Jofra and the team, he’s been a really influential part of the team since he started playing for England, and obviously a huge miss for what’s coming up in the rest of the year. But I think also, this injury’s something that’s been bugging him for a while. Hopefully now this is the end of it, get it settled, get it healed, rehab it and come back stronger.”