England pacer James Anderson today said that he was delighted with his maiden Test half-century and even more so with the fact that his innings allowed his team to find its way into the first Test versus India here.
Anderson scored a personal best of 81 runs while Joe Root score an unbeaten 154 as the two shared a world-record 198 runs for the tenth wicket, powering England to 496 all out and a first-innings lead of 39 on day four.
“It is a brilliant feeling, to bat like that and build a partnership like that. I am glad to get the team back in the game,” said Anderson.
“My earlier highest score of 49* was in a match winning cause, so let’s see if we can trump that with this innings.”
The duo beat the 163-run stand of Australia’s Phil Hughes and Ashton Agar scored at this very ground during the Ashes series in the 2013 summer. Their partnership also beat a long-standing 111-year old English record for the 10th wicket of 130 runs by Tip Foster and Wilfred Rhodes scored against Australia at Sydney in 1903.
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“When I came in to bat, the idea was to bat for a bit. Joe took a lot of strike and then when I settled down, we rotated the strike as well. Our plan worked well yesterday and we had to start again today.
“We knew we had a job to do and once we started scoring runs, we knew we had to eat away into the time and chip away at their lead. We didn’t really expect to get where we got to,” said Anderson.
“He took a lot of strike and rotated it very well. He is young but he batted with a lot of maturity out there, almost like a very experienced batsman. He talked me through the innings I played today,” he added, praising his young partner.
Anderson’s score was the third highest by a number 11 batsman in Test cricket after Ashton Agar’s 98 versus England at the same ground in 2013 and Tino Best’s 95 runs, also versus England, at Birmingham in 2012.
Anderson’s effort was also the highest Test score by an England number 11 batsman, beating John Snow’s effort of 59 not out versus West Indies at The Oval in 1966.
“I thought last night that if I ever got a fifty in Test cricket, it would be on a pitch like this. If you have got a game plan you stick to it, because there are only certain types of balls that will get you out on this turgid pitch. The short ball was not very dangerous because it came so slow. So we got stuck in,” he said.
When asked if he thought about getting a hundred, he replied, “No I didn’t. But lunch came at the wrong time for me though I didn’t get out because of that break. I doubt I will get a Test hundred.”
His partnership means that England have now turned the match with India finishing at 167/3 at stumps, with a lead of 128 runs.
The first session on the fifth morning will be very crucial.
“There are no demons in the pitch and even number 11 batsmen are batting well. But we bowled well in the second innings and stuck at it and managed to get three wickets. We need to chip away again in the morning,” he signed off.