England skipper Root full of praise for ‘special commodity’ Anderson
The 36-year-old is England’s all-time leading wicket-taker.
Joe Root hopes “special commodity” James Anderson can stick around to keep helping England win Test matches after his nine wickets at Lord’s overwhelmed India.
England’s 36-year-old all-time leading wicket-taker was pipped for the man-of-the-match award by Chris Woakes – whose comeback maiden century put the hosts out of sight on the way to a 2-0 Specsavers series lead.
But after Anderson finished with match figures of nine for 43 in a superlative all-round bowling performance which also included star turns from Stuart Broad and Woakes, captain Root made no secret of his delight to have such skills at his disposal.
England prevailed by an innings and 159 runs on the fourth evening of a rain-ravaged match, as India were bowled out for 130 – and Anderson and Broad shared figures of eight for 67.
Asked about evergreen record-breaker Anderson, Root said: “He’s a special, special commodity, isn’t he?
“He’s something that doesn’t come along very often, and we’ve got to enjoy him while he’s around. Time and again, he puts in fantastic performances. For him to be performing as he is, is something else.”
Anderson, who has become the first bowler ever to take 100 Test wickets at Lord’s, is showing no signs of stopping any time soon.
“There’s been chat about his longevity, but at the minute he’s bowling better than he ever has,” added Root. “Even though the conditions suited you’ve still got to ask the right questions of the batters.
“Throughout the whole game he did just that.”
Root warns, however, England must not assume their world number one visitors are washed-up in a hectic five-match series which will resume at Trent Bridge on Saturday.
“India are doing everything they can, but…we’ve given them nothing. I don’t see any lack of fight, or lack of trying (from them).
“Obviously, it would be a dream to put in five complete performances and have five wins. But it’s important we don’t get complacent, arrogant…
“If you get too far ahead of yourself, this game has got a funny way of biting back at you.”
England surged to victory without their premier all-rounder Ben Stokes, whose return in Nottingham is unknown as his court case on a charge of affray continues in Bristol.
“Ben is obviously a huge part of this squad, so it’s a miss him not being here this week,” said Root.
“But what it did was create an opportunity for Chris to come in and perform – and boy, he didn’t disappoint did he? He was outstanding.
“That’s something we really want to harness as an example to the guys in and around the squad – ‘when you get your chance, make it as hard as possible to leave you out’.
“It’s a great headache to have for us, going into next week.”
Root’s opposite number Virat Kohli has his own aches, pains and concerns about how to galvanise his team.
Kohli spent time off the field because of a bad back.
“As of yesterday it was not great,” he said. “The back is one thing that can be very tricky…but the good thing is I have five days before the next Test. We are confident I should be ready.”
As for India’s other ailments after a match in which number eight Ravi Ashwin top-scored in both innings, Kohli added: “It’s our job and our duty to play for the country, and we should be better than that.
“Unless you accept that, you can’t improve and compete. We have to accept what we did wrong – mistakes have been made – and not repeat again.”