Happy Birthday James Anderson – A Look At His Top 5 Bowling Spells In Test Cricket

James Anderson bowling against India in 2018 at Lords was perhaps among his top 5 best bowling spells along with the 2013 Ashes series. Happy Birthday to James Anderson!

James Anderson – England’s Greatest Ever?

The most successful fast bowler in the history of test cricket, James Anderson turns 38 today. Undoubtedly, Anderson bowling with the red ball is one of the most loved things in cricket. There is always a sense of trepidation in the mind of batsman when they face the Lancashire quick. James Anderson has had great bowling spells in the past, right throughout his test match career.

In his illustrious career, the King of conventional swing has picked 876* wickets across formats which is the best ever tally by an Englishman in international cricket. As the cricketing legend celebrates his 38th birthday, we look at English speedster’s top 5 spells in test cricket.

Watch – Jimmy Takes His 500th Test Wicket

5) 4/81 vs India, Nagpur 2012.

#5 James Anderson Best Bowling Spells

James Anderson picking up 4/81 in Nagpur is an underrated performance and part of his top 5 best bowling spells in test match cricket
England cricketers James Anderson (L), Kevin Pietersen (C), and Ian Bell celebrate the wicket of unseen India ‘A’ batsman Abhinav Mukund on the final day of a three day practice match between India ‘A’ and England at The Cricket Club of India (CCI) ground in Mumbai on November 1, 2012. The England cricket team, who are to play a four Test series against India from November 15, are playing three practice matches before the start of the test series. AFP PHOTO/ INDRANIL MUKHERJEE (Photo credit should read INDRANIL MUKHERJEE/AFP via Getty Images)

Firstly, one of the most underrated spells ever by an overseas pacer in India. On a pitch that stayed slow and low, Anderson put on a match-winning spell where he got the ball to reverse during the fourth test in Nagpur. He took 4/81 in the first innings. After England posted a total of 330 in the first innings, Anderson gave a perfect start to the visitors. He began by uprooting the middle stump of Virender Sehwag with an inswinger.

Post tea, Anderson came to bowl from the other end. Immediately, he bowled the master blaster Sachin Tendulkar with a length delivery that kept low, came back in took the inside edge and crashed on to the stumps. Captain Cook called his dependable pacer for the final hour of day 2.

Finally, Anderson again responded immediately by getting the prize wicket of well set Gautam Gambhir. He also trapped Ravindra Jadeja LBW for good measure. Anderson was adjudged as the Man of the match for his brilliant display of reverse swing bowling. Even the Indian skipper, MS Dhoni lauded his skills and said that he was the difference between the two sides.

Also, Read – Top 5 Most Wickets In Tests For England

4) 5-73 on Debut vs Zimbabwe, Lord’s 2003

#4 James Anderson Best Bowling Spells

England’s James Anderson (l) celebrates with Nasser Hussain (r) after bowling South Africa’s Jacques Kallis for 27 on the 3rd day of the Third Test Match at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 16 August 2003. AFP PHOTO Paul Barker (Photo credit should read PAUL BARKER/AFP via Getty Images)

A debut to remember for Jimmy Anderson. He was handed a debut cap at the age of 20 against Zimbabwe at the home of cricket – Lord’s. The Rookie fast bowler was sensational in his first appearance for England in whites and he showed early signs of greatness by picking 5-73 in the first innings.

He gave 17 runs in his first over and then came back strongly picking four quick wickets post-lunch that included a hat-trick chance. He picked Mark Vermeulen as his first wicket, good length ball that swung late and crashed on to the stumps.

James Anderson dismissed Blignaut with an outswinger who was caught by Mark Butcher. Four of his five wickets were bowled, again late swing doing the trick for him. He bowled Doug Hondo to become the first Englishman to take 5 wickets on debut since Dominic Cork in 1995.

3) 11/71 vs Pakistan, Nottingham 2010

#3 James Anderson Best Bowling Spells

England’s James Anderson acknowledges the crowd after taking his fifth wicket of the innings during the 1st Test match between England and Pakistan at Trent Bridge, Nottingham, 1st August 2010. Other England players pictured are (from left): Stuart Broad, Alastair Cook, Matt Prior and Andrew Strauss (hidden). England won the match by 354 runs. (Photo by Popperfoto via Getty Images/Getty Images)

It was the first match of the series between these two teams. And Anderson gave a perfect start to the host by picking 5/54 in the first and 6/17 in the second innings and made sure that England won that match by a healthy margin of 354 runs. He picked Imran Farhat, Salman Butt, Azhar Ali, Shoaib Malik, and Mohammad Amir to bundle out Pakistan for 182 in the first innings.

In the second innings, he made it more difficult for the Pakistani players as they were chasing a mammoth total of 435 runs. He got the wickets of Imran Farhat, Umar Amin, Umar Akmal, Umar Gul. Anderson bowled a perfect outswinger to get rid of Malik. Anderson registered his best-ever figures in test cricket till date.

And it took very little time for him to get rid of Asif. Again the delivery pitched on the off stump taking a healthy edge of Asif’s bat to the 2nd slip, where Graeme Swann held on to a good catch which gave Anderson his sixth wicket of the innings and 11th for the match. Undoubtedly, James Anderson will admit that this was one of his best bowling spells.

2) 10-158 vs Australia, Ashes 2013

#2 James Anderson Best Bowling Spells

Jimmy Anderson takes the wicket of Brad Haddin of Australia to win the match for England during Day Five of the 1st Investec Ashes Test between England and Australia at Trent Bridge in Nottingham, UK. Photo: Visionhaus/Ben Radford (Photo by Ben Radford/Corbis via Getty Images)

The first test match of the Ashes 2013 series was a tensed game for the spectators and for the players as well. What a nail biter that was where England won that game by a small margin of 14 runs.

Secondly, Anderson at his happy hunting ground- Trent bridge, produced another memorable spell. He picked up 5-85 and 5-73 in the match and was the hero for England along with Ian Bell in a thrilling encounter. How he planned every wicket was the key to his success in that match, probing the batsman to play most of his deliveries.

At one point it looked like Haddin would win this game for Australia, but Anderson had other plans. He invited the drive, ball taking the inside edge of Haddin’s bat through to Prior, who took a good low catch, which secured a victory for England.

In addition, he paved the way for England to win the Ashes series 3-0.

Also, Read – Who Has Taken The Most Ashes Wickets?

1) 10-45 vs Srilanka, Leeds 2016

#1 James Anderson Best Bowling Spells

LEEDS, ENGLAND – MAY 20: England bowler James Anderson is applauded by Stuart Broad (l) and Alastair Cook as he shows off the ball after taking 5 wickets during day two of the 1st Investec Test match between England and Sri Lanka at Headingley on May 20, 2016 in Leeds, United Kingdom. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

Often regarded as the best among deadly James Anderson bowling spells. Before this test match, Anderson wanted to prove a point because he didn’t have a great record at Headingley. But only in a span of 3 days, he turned the tables and bowled an unforgettable spell which resulted in England’s victory by an innings and 88 runs. 

After England made 298 in the first innings, Anderson led the charge with the ball. In his first spell, Silva was caught behind by Jimmy and unquestionably, he changed gears and end the Srilankan innings with figures of 5/16.

Also, he created magic by bowling out Srilanka for 119, retaining the figures of 5/29 in the second innings. He ran through the Srilankan batting order with a remarkable display of Swing bowling. Despite this, he did not receive the Man of the Match award. Jonny Bairstow was adjudged as the man of the match for his special hundred, but he too lauded the skills of Anderson. 

Lastly, as the King of Swing, the modern maestro celebrates his 38th birthday, here’s wishing him good health and more wickets in the future. Above all, we hope to see lots of more amazing spells in the future!


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