Joe Root compares Jimmy Anderson’s ‘special’ spell which ravaged India’s batting to help set up a famous win in Chennai to Andrew Flintoff’s in the Ashes in 2005 – and says his two-wicket over is the best he’s EVER seen as a player
- Jimmy Anderson took three wickets as England thrashed India by 227 runs
- Joe Root lauded Anderson’s brilliant morning spell of reverse swing
- Anderson clean bowled Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane’s in the same over
- The England skipper said Anderson reminded him of Andrew Flintoff in 2005
Joe Root toasted the best over he has witnessed by an England bowler after Jimmy Anderson ransacked India’s batting with reverse swing in Chennai.
In what was the pivotal passage of play on the final day, Anderson entered the attack immediately before the morning session’s drinks break and cartwheeled the off stumps of Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane.
In between, the 38-year-old was denied the LBW dismissal of Rahane on umpire’s call following a review – but the double strike during a spell of 5-3-6-3 surged the tourists towards a famous 227-run win.
Jimmy Anderson bowled brilliantly on the final day of the first Test to help claim a famous win
Asked afterwards whether he could remember a better over, Root said: ‘I can’t think of one in my time. It reminded me of Andrew Flintoff in 2005, the impact of that over to Ricky Ponting and Justin Langer (at Edgbaston). In the context of this game, it was huge.
‘When you are looking round for big moments in Test matches, big game players stand up and do special things.
‘They’re the big moments that you have to grasp if you want to win series in these conditions against a side as good as India. They’re the things you have to get right.’
Root marked a memorable 100th Test appearance with his 11th man-of-the-match award – only Sir Ian Botham with 12 has more for England than the current captain – after setting up the victory bid by turning his third hundred in as many appearances this winter into a double.
Anderson proved crucial at the other end of the match, however, after India resumed on 39 for one on the fifth morning.
Anderson took Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane’s off stumps in the same over in the morning
‘Just ‘GOAT’ I reckon, leave it there,’ Root said, of the Lancastrian who is now just nine shy of overtaking Anil Kumble in third place of Test cricket’s all-time wicket-takers’ list.
‘He seems to get better all the time. His skill level keeps improving, his work-rate is as good as anyone’s I’ve ever seen and his fitness levels are probably the best they’ve ever been. He’s a credit to English cricket, sets a great example to all the young players, and if you’ve got him in your armoury it’s a very comfortable position to be in.’
Anderson, who said he hoped to retain his place for Saturday’s second Test despite the pre-series rotation plan, added: ‘We are trying to develop skills to win anywhere in the world which you need to do if you want to get to number one – which is what our eventual goal is.’
They maintained their unlikely to bid of winning three matches out of four against the current World Test Championship leaders and therefore meeting New Zealand in June’s final here in England after Jack Leach snared Cheteshwar Pujara with a classical left-arm spinner’s dismissal within the first half hour.
Joe Root underlined Anderson’s significance in England’s victory and labelled him the GOAT
It was some response from the Somerset man who was being hit all over Chennai by Rishabh Pant 48 hours earlier.
‘To have the character and the skill level to come back shows where he is at with his cricket. He deserved his rewards. Throughout the whole Test match he was asked to perform in a certain way and he delivered over time. I couldn’t be prouder of him,’ Root said.
Leach also accounted for Ravichandran Ashwin and Shahbaz Nadeem either side of Ben Stokes castling India captain Virat Kohli to finish with match figures of six for 181.
And Root’s record-equalling 26th win as Test captain was confirmed with half a day minus one ball to spare when Jofra Archer nicked off last man Jasprit Bumrah – justifying the decision not to declare on the fourth evening.
‘As the batter who spent the most time out there on that wicket I felt I had the best gauge of it. With the outfield as quick as it was and the ground as small as it was I didn’t want to give India any chance of winning the game,’ Root said.
Root said Anderson bowled the best over he’s seen since Andrew Flintoff at Edgbaston in 2005
‘I wanted more than anything to leave only two possible results. Having played all the cricket it would have been damaging if we’d lost this game. The way the pitch deteriorated over the previous three days, I knew it would happen even quicker again and all we needed to do was be relentless with the areas we bowled, and it would do the rest for us.’
For India this was a reality check following the heady 2-1 win over Australia last month but Kohli bristled at suggestions England were well placed to complete a second win on Indian soil in eight years.
‘You could say they are well prepared but to say they are better prepared than us in our own conditions is not an accurate assessment,’ Kohli said.
‘If you look at second innings when ball turned and bounced, both teams were similar. In future games you can analyse whether they are better prepared or we are well prepared. We are not jumping any guns yet.’
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