James Anderson displayed a neat sense of occasion as he proved himself instantly at home bowling from the end named in his honour by recording his new best Old Trafford figures in Test cricket.
Anderson excelled first as a number 11 batsman before returning to his day job as England’s all-time leading wicket-taker with four for 33 on day two of the fourth Investec Test against South Africa.
He helped Jonny Bairstow (99) add 50 for the last wicket in England’s 362 all out, needed only three deliveries from the James Anderson end to have Dean Elgar lbw for a duck and then, after a quiet middle session in which the hosts managed two wickets, returned to take three more for six runs as South Africa stumbled towards 220 for nine at stumps.
Indisputably, despite Bairstow’s best efforts, it is Anderson. Bowling from his own end, newly named in his honour the previous day, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker updated his previous Old Trafford Test best figures of four for 118 – modest by his standards – against New Zealand in 2008 with four for 33 so far.
99 and out. Bairstow became the unlucky 13th England batsman to fall just a single short of his hundred in Tests. Mike Smith and Michael Atherton did so twice each, for good measure, while Geoff Boycott, who was also out once for 99, like Alex Tudor recorded an unbeaten version too.
Heino Kuhn and Keaton Jennings’ series so far bear uncanny and undesirable similarities. After the South Africa opener’s latest effort, he has 102 runs from seven innings while his former compatriot has 109. Each may have just one last chance to salvage his current tenure.
“Back after lunch and it’s been fairly comfortably so far for Kuhn and Amla. They have progressed to 16/1 in the two overs faced. £ENGvSA” – Cricket South Africa’s official account had no issue tempting fate a little.
England will have their eyes on victory for a 3-1 winning margin in this series. An uncertain weather forecast may be their biggest stumbling block.
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