England captain Joe Root likened James Anderson to “fine wine” after the 38-year-old’s reverse-swing masterclass helped secure a comprehensive victory in the opening Test against India on Tuesday.
Anderson had managed two wickets, both tailenders, in a subdued display during India’s first innings on a flat track at Chennai’s MA Chidambaram Stadium.
It turned out he had saved his best for the final morning when his spectacular three-wicket burst effectively snuffed out India’s hopes of securing a draw in the series-opener.
“He is like a fine wine — getting better and better,” Root said after equalling Michael Vaughan as England’s most successful Test captain following the 227-run victory.
“When there’s pressure, he will never let you down.”
Root, who was man-of-the-match after his 218 in the first innings of his 100th Test, marvelled at Anderson’s skill and longevity.
“He’s the GOAT of English cricket,” Root said of the Lancashire bowler.
“For Someone at 38 to be still getting better, still being as fit as he has ever been, it’s a huge credit to his desire to play for England. He’s a great role model to the rest of the group.”
Root also said the pacer’s amazing spell reminded him a little of Andrew Flintoff’s heroics in 2005.
Anderson finished with the figures of 3/17 during India’s second innings.
“It reminded me a little bit of Flintoff in 2005 and the impact of that over to Ponting and Langer, but in the context of this game it was huge,” Root said.
“When you are looking around, in big moments in Test matches, naturally you expect that from him and the likes of Ben Stokes, coming on and taking the wicket of Virat Kohli. Big-game players stand up and do special things. It is a great example for young guys around,” he added.
Back in 2005, Flintoff’s fiery spell had helped England defeat Australia by 2 runs in Edgbaston. The former player had picked the wickets of Langer and Ponting in the 13th over. Flintoff had finished with the figures of 4/79 during Australia’s second innings.
England’s winning start against India in their ICC World Test Championship series has kept alive the visiting side’s hopes of making the final of the nine-team competition, lifting them to first place and 70.2 percentage points on the points table. They’ve improved their chances of securing one of the three series results in their favour that could see them through to the final – 3-1, 3-0 or 4-0.
New Zealand has already qualified for the final winning 70.0 per cent of their matches (with no other series scheduled) while India and Australia remain in contention for the other place along with England.
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