How Good Was Jimmy Anderson*

Cricket is a batsman’s game.  Third Man won’t even bother to look at who won Man of the Match at Adelaide, and not just because he’s already made up his own mind, which of course he has.

Over at Wisden Cricketer, Edward Craig, writes a few hundred words on Player Awards for the Test without once mentioning the Lancastrian whose first innings figures were 19 overs, 4 maidens, four for 51.

Anderson’s wickets included three of the top four in Australia’s batting line up – Watson , Ponting and Clarke.

As Anderson would know from his days playing for Burnley, in the Lancashire League, they take the cap round for a batsmen when he scores 50 and then again when he scores 100.  You have to take 5 wickets as a bowler to have a cap taken round for you. And many clubs give batsmen special trophies for scores of 100, but ignore bowlers with Michelles and better.

So how do we put a batting valuation on Anderson’s performance?

We could say that 100 and a 5fer are equivalent which values a wicket at 20 runs.  That’s what they do for the honours boards at most Test grounds.

But does a score of 100 at Adelaide really compare with a 5fer?  And is a 5-fer which includes nine, ten, jack as good as a 4-fer that takes out an opener and numbers three and four? 

Let’s try this: you might expect a ‘par’ first innings score of around 500 for 6 at Adelaide.  England scored 620 for 5, so that ‘par’ calculation isn’t unreasonable.  This means that 8 batsmen contribute on average 62.5 each.  Anderson’s 4-fer would work out as the equivalent of 250.

On the other hand, we could take the Test averages of Anderson’s victims and add them up: 41, 54, 48 and 14 or 157 in total, except that we should take their averages for their first ‘digs’, which would be perhaps 25% higher, giving a equivalent of close to a double hundred. 

Yet what do Watson, Ponting and Clarke average ‘first up’ at Adelaide? Higher still, surely.

In the end perhaps a qualitative evaluation is the only sensible one.  Australia never recovered from the shock of those two fantastic late swinging deliveries, each of perfect pitch, that removed Ponting and Clarke. They set the psychological tone for what followed.  Talk about targeting the Captain (and Vice-Captain!)

It was as if Jimmy had barged his way into the Australian dressing room and on the facing wall painted in blood: Your Defeat is Inevitable.

* How Good was Jimmy Anderson could be a question or a statement depending on the choice of punctuation.  Third Man leaves it to the reader to make their own decision.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “How Good Was Jimmy Anderson*

  1. It’s a hard one to conclude what Anderson’s effort was really worth. But what I can say for definate is that so far in this series he has bowled as well as I have seen him bowl overseas since he first burst onto the scene 8 years ago.

    I was a bit sceptical about him bowling overseas before this tour. His home record is far better than his touring one, for me he also struggled in the past when an attack got after him, he seemed to fall apart and had no stock ball to fall back on. It was like he used to just run in, bowl and hope for the best.

    Now he seems to have developed an element of control to his bowling, the ‘Daisy’ nickname now looks to be a thing of the past. It was a top class performance in Adelaide on Day 1 and the spell he bowled in Brisbane at the start of (I think it was) Day 3 to Hussey and Haddin was as good if not better.

    He went for a few in the 2nd innings at Adelaide but that was because I believe he was encouraging the batsmen to play shots off him. I don’t think 12-18 months ago he would have had the self belief to do that.

    If you look at Stuart Broad’s bowling, (like Anderson now is) he too was bowling with good control and discipline before injury. It looks like David Saker has done a good job fine tuning the two of them.

    I also think Strauss has learnt the best way to handle Anderson. He seems to be bowling very long spells with the new ball, it’s looks like Strauss is trying to maximize his swing with the new ball, rather than holding him back for spells later in the day. Not rocket science, but he’s been handled far worse in the past.

  2. I would say,Anderson deserved the Man of the Match more than Pieterson,it(Kevin’s 227) was a fine knock;but he had the platform built in a rock solid manner by Cook and Trott.
    On a flat pitch,towin the toss and bat first,you must be really lucky.You start dreaming of some 600 odd score and suddenly,someone comes and blows away your top order,taking away the 2 best batsmen in the side for ducks;and bowl them out for a meager 245,and thus make his batmen’s work even more easy on easier conditions,the one who dealt the blow first and so fast is the Man of The Match!

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