Back in the swing

An­der­son strikes to put Eng­land in con­trol

The Daily Telegraph - Business - - Sport - By Nick Hoult CHIEF CRICKET CORRESPOND­ENT

A week ago it was James An­der­son’s mood that was brood­ing and dark rather than the weather. But while sullen skies even­tu­ally cut short the first day of the sec­ond Test, at least An­der­son wore a sun­nier dis­po­si­tion.

An­der­son’s anger at his first-Test per­for­mance in Manch­ester was re­placed by the sat­is­fac­tion of tak­ing two for 35 in con­di­tions per­fectly de­signed for his skills, as well as im­prov­ing his frame of mind.

With the ball seam­ing and swing­ing, and the flood­lights on for most of a hu­mid, stormy day, Pak­istan’s bats­men faced an al­most im­pos­si­ble task against Eng­land’s at­tack.

At 126 for five, Pak­istan hopes rest this morn­ing on Babar Azam, their most ac­com­plished bats­man, but An­der­son has a look in his eye, de­ter­mined to prove his time is not up and that last week was an aber­ra­tion rather than a sign of some­thing more ter­mi­nal for his ca­reer.

With heavy clouds forecast again, bat­ting is un­likely to be­come eas­ier and Joe Root has plenty of skilled seam and swing bowl­ing op­tions at his dis­posal. Eng­land can go a long way to­wards firm­ing up a se­ries-win­ning po­si­tion to­day, with Pak­istan’s tail long and Root’s own bats­men, in the­ory, bet­ter equipped to play in home con­di­tions. Had Eng­land held their catches, Pak­istan would be in deeper trou­ble.

Eng­land started this sum­mer with a plan for the Ashes in their back pocket.

Top of the list was se­lect­ing one of their fire­cracker fast bowlers in each game. They even put three promis­ing county quicks on qua­si­cen­tral con­tracts to in­crease the pool. Stu­art Broad was dropped for the first Test, and Jofra Archer took the new ball. But the old leg­ends, Broad and An­der­son, are back in con­trol, while it was clear Archer was not go­ing to play yes­ter­day when he kept wicket in the warmup. He was left out for Sam Cur­ran.

An­der­son prob­a­bly would not have played this Test had he en­joyed a good game at Emi­rates Old Traf­ford. This would have been an ob­vi­ous one for him to miss af­ter play­ing three in a row and look­ing “leggy” in Manch­ester, but be­cause his per­for­mance sparked a few wild ru­mours that he was about to quit, Root wanted to give An­der­son an im­me­di­ate chance to make a point.

Five weeks ago Archer and Mark Wood played to­gether at the Ageas Bowl, with Eng­land con­vinced their part­ner­ship could blow West Indies away. Now they are run­ning out with the drinks. Archer has not helped him­self with his per­for­mances, and his re­luc­tance to bowl quickly last week hardly made him a first choice. This is the right at­tack for this Test, given the con­di­tions that were forecast all week and a pitch with more grass on it, but we do not know if Archer is ready for the new ball or if Wood has built up his stamina.

An­der­son’s Test started badly in Manch­ester, as he be­came an­noyed by his in­abil­ity to find Shan Ma­sood’s edge. Some­how, Ma­sood sur­vived a new-ball work­ing over out­side off stump to make his high­est Test score. But the 156 has been fol­lowed by nought and one here. This time, An­der­son needed just eight de­liv­er­ies to have him lbw, with a ball hit­ting mid­dle and off.

Eng­land could have had four

wickets by lunch. They dropped two catches and failed to re­view a thin edge. Abid Ali was put down on one and 21 by Eng­land’s slip cor­don, re­jigged in the ab­sence of Ben Stokes. Dom Si­b­ley grabbed at a chance to his left at third slip off Broad, and Rory Burns made a mess of a dolly at sec­ond slip off Chris Woakes, tak­ing the ball with his hands point­ing up like the wick­et­keeper he used to be.

The match started in per­fect bat­ting con­di­tions, hot and sunny, but the at­mos­phere was heavy and Broad soon called for his in­haler, find­ing it hard to breathe. It was about short, five-over spells for Eng­land’s bowlers.

Azhar Ali and Abid rebuilt, some­how sur­viv­ing to add 72. There were a few anx­ious pokes with an­gled bats and lit­tle foot move­ment as Eng­land sensed wickets. Only Root at first slip went up when Azhar feath­ered an edge off An­der­son on 20.

It was prob­a­bly lucky An­der­son did not see the re­play, given the slight squig­gle that showed up on Ul­traEdge.

It mat­tered lit­tle. Azhar did not add to his score. An­der­son ran in from the ho­tel end against the back­drop of a black cloud gath­er­ing and a light­ning flash in the dis­tance.

Azhar must have known the rain was com­ing. But be­tween the light­ning flash and the crackle of thun­der, he edged An­der­son low to Burns, who made no mis­take sec­ond time around.

The rain came at 85 for two, and the teams went off for nearly two hours. When they re­sumed, 85 for two be­came 126 for five, Eng­land to­tally in con­trol.

Abid ground his way to 60, reach­ing his fifty off 99 balls with an edge for four through the slips, but Cur­ran showed his skills, swing­ing the ball away from the right-han­der, with a thick edge fly­ing to Burns.

Asad Shafiq played a soft poke at Broad, with Si­b­ley a re­lieved man as he held on at slip. It brought Fawad Alam to the crease in his first Test for 11 years.

Alam had re­placed Shadab Khan, the the­ory be­ing he bol­stered the bat­ting. He av­er­ages 56 in first-class cricket, where he has spent more than a decade in the wilder­ness. In that time he has opened his stance to such an ex­tent he was com­pletely chest on, more so than Peter Wil­ley or Shiv­nar­ine Chan­der­paul, with his bat face point­ing at square leg. He moved over in line as the bowler ran in.

Eleven years is a long time to wait for an­other Test in­nings but it was over in four balls, lbw to Woakes on re­view af­ter five min­utes. Cruel game, cricket.

Joy un­bounded: James An­der­son leaps in pas­sion­ate cel­e­bra­tion af­ter dis­miss­ing Pak­istan’s cap­tain Azhar Ali in the first in­nings of the sec­ond Test at the Ageas Bowl, where the 38-year-old bowler an­swered his crit­ics in em­phatic style

Un­der a cloud: The sec­ond Test un­folds against a gloomy back­cloth of stormy skies

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