Fiddles do not come fitter, nor do butchers’ dogs. If the way James Anderson has started his competitive season is anything to go by, he has another eight months of England duty in him, taking the highest Test wicket-taker among England bowlers – and all pace bowlers – through to the end of the Ashes.
On day one Anderson had conceded 22 runs from his dozen overs. On day two he tightened up and conceded 18 from his dozen, more like his thrifty self. He claimed a couple more wickets, too, taking his first-class aggregate up to 992.
Having bowled on day one from the new pavilion end, Anderson switched to the end named after him and harnessed his outswinger to the strident crosswind. He kept beating the right-handers, zipping past their outside edge, and Glamorgan’s captain Chris Cooke would have been wicket 993 if Luke Wells at first slip had not dropped a chance low to his left.
Since he was capped by Lancashire in 2003, Anderson has been mostly away on national duty – of his near-thousand, 614 have been for England, one-third for Lancashire – but it would be nice if he were to top-and-tail his Lancashire career by playing one last full season, as captain, provided he can face the pain barrier yet again.
Wicket 991 came in Anderson’s second over of day two when, from round the wicket, he burst through Billy Root’s defence, more porous than his right-handed brother’s. Wicket 992 was taken by the second new ball, when he pinned Dan Douthwaite, whose robust hitting has ensured a draw at least for Glamorgan if the remaining weather for this game is as foul as the forecast.
Outswing or inswing with a scarcely discernible change of finger position, subtle use of the crease, a relentless length, and a competitiveness which has yet to fade. The one inconsistency is when Anderson, after giving the batsman a quiet earful for a poor shot, flicks his forelock back into place as if he has just been appointed school prefect.
Another England bowler performed steadily: Matt Parkinson, though he has played only four white-ball games and 160 fewer Tests. The leg-spinner had to bowl quite a lot for early season, as Saqib Mahmmod was off the field in midafternoon. Parkinson was steady, on a full length, never imperilling Keaton Jennings at silly point with long hops, a little brisker after his winter away.
Parkinson stuck to his stock leg-breaks, and although only one of them ripped past the outside edge, the odd one kept straight on and threatened the pads. Not only a steady leg-spinner but a cheerful fellow, Parkinson might make the England Test squad again this winter. He would certainly have been ideal on tours of Australia past, ready to do lots of work against South Australia Country XI and so forth.
Not in Anderson’s league, that is, but then nobody is.
Nottinghamshire gain upper hand over Essex behind Steven Mullaney century
A century from captain Steven Mullaney made it advantage Nottinghamshire on day two of their County Championship match against Essex.
Mullaney made 117 as Nottinghamshire totalled 323, giving them a lead of 224 after bowling Essex out for 99 on Thursday.
Essex were still 95 behind at 129 for three at the close, with opener Nick Browne unbeaten on 60.
Craig Overton put Somerset in control against Hampshire at the Ageas Bowl.
Overton – the leading wicket-taker in the competition – showed his batting credentials by top-scoring with 74 as his side opened up a 165-run lead, and then took three wickets as Hampshire closed on 92 for three.
In reply to Warwickshire’s 343 at Edgbaston, Worcestershire closed on 198 for four, thanks principally to Jake Libby (74) and Jack Haynes, who made a career-best 52 not out.