Everybody's flying and no one leaves the ground
Everybody's crying and no one makes a sound
Nobody told me there'd be days like these
Strange days Indeed
Nobody told me: John Lennon
We all have bad days. You're not feeling quite right and you don't know why. Your tea is cold, your egg tastes off and your partner's shouting at you and you have no idea why. Things go from bad to worse and the harder you try, the worse they become and the grumpier you get.
When you are more senior in your career, the more you feel these days. The more they affect you. The more you look over you're shoulder and wonder who is waiting to pounce and take advantage of your failings.
Jimmy Anderson, I feel your Old Trafford pain. At time's your face was like the thunder now rolling over the Rose Bowl. BUT great performers in any walk of life put it behind them, dust themselves down and find that extra few percent next time around.
With off days, bad karma and bad luck seem to be devious and destructive co – conspirators. They both got to Jimmy at Old Trafford. But let's look at the stats.
Jimmy at Old Trafford:
First Bowling Innings Figures
- He had the highest economy of any pace bowler on either side in either first innings
- In the last six years, of first innings' where he has bowled at least ten overs, only twice has he recorded worse figures
- Vs Australia at Lord's – July 2015 – 26 – 4 – 99 – 0 – 3.80
- Vs South Africa at Centurion – December 2019 – 20 – 4 – 69 – 1 – 3.45
Old Trafford Second Bowling Innings Figures
- Second highest economy of any English bowler, behind Archer (4.05).
- In the last six years, of second innings' where he has bowled at least five overs, only once has he had worse figures – Vs Australia at Lord's – July 2015 – 7 – 0 – 38 – 0 – 5.42
- His second-worst bowling performance at Old Trafford
- His Worst bowling performance against Pakistan
Overall Old Trafford Test facts:
- Failed to dismiss notorious 'bunnies' Azhar Ali (eight dismissals at 21.87) and Shan
Masood (seven dismissals at 14.14)
- Fourth-worse match economy in the last six years
- Worst match average in the last eight years, seventh worse ever
But as ever, pure stats disguise a deeper story. At Manchester, no frontline bowler extracted a higher false shot percentage from the batsmen than Anderson, but none took fewer wickets. The luck of play and misses, of dropped catches just wasn't there…strange days indeed.
Now lets wind forward to Day One at the Rose Bowl.
When no one steps on my dreams there'll be days like this
When people understand what I mean there'll be days like this
When you ring out the changes of how everything is
Well my mama told me there'll be days like this
Days Like this: Van Morrison
Albeit rather publicly, Jimmy had looked at himself, he'd looked at his critics, he'd put things in perspective and most importantly, he realised how good he can be. As is often the case, luck in the shape of swing friendly storm humidity, decided to play ball too. He ran in hard. His average speed at 84.5 mph was higher than any other test since 2014. Every sinew and muscle from the top of his head to his toes screamed "I'm not done".
Jimmy's current Ageas Bowl First Innings Figures
- Only three times has he taken two or more wickets in a first innings at a better economy rate
- Last time was against Pakistan at Edgbaston in 2015
- Dismissed Masood and Azhar
Five years ago, this would have been just another good day at work for Jimmy. But on this occasion, he had a point to prove and he did just that. There will be other days, more points to prove and critics will gaze upon him like vultures from the safety of the press box. That is just life I'm afraid and professional sport for the more senior performer. But not this day at the Rose Bowl.
For Jimmy Anderson, there was more pace, more swing, more wickets and definitely more Morrison than Lennon!
Tony Bishop (age 61 and a ½)
With thanks to Total Cricket Analysis for statistics