James Anderson suggested that South Africa played into England’s hands on day one of the second LV= Test, throwing the ball to them in helpful conditions.
After recalling Simon Harmer as a second spinner, Proteas skipper Dean Elgar allowed his team’s composition to inform his judgment at the draw.
The bleak prospects at Emirates Old Trafford meant Seamen would likely be enjoying themselves early on, but Elgar still opted to bat first to set the match up for his slow bowlers.
But the gambit backfired when Anderson and Stuart Broad each served three wickets as the tourists were rolled over for 151.
England finished 111 to 3 in reply, Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow sharing an unbeaten 68 streak to ensure the seamstresses’ good work did not go to waste.
Anderson, who knows better than most how to make the most of his home pitch conditions, welcomed Elgar’s decision.
“Actually, I didn’t mind. Courts here are usually good for playing a new ball, especially early on,” he said.
“The lights were on, it was overcast… it felt like it wasn’t the worst pitch to lose. As a bowler, it’s always great to see it move.
“We know the weather was pretty average here last week so it was pretty overcast and while it felt hard on top there was definitely some moisture in there somewhere.
“But you still have to bowl well. We just thought about hitting good areas away for as long as possible. I thought we were just relentless with our areas after lunch and everyone who bowled bowled brilliantly.”
While Anderson kept his usual new-ball duties, Broad had to wait after seeing Ollie Robinson used first in the Brian Statham end.
It was a rare mistake in Broad’s pecking order, and one that caught his longtime partner by surprise.
“We went bowling with literally five minutes to go and I was like, ‘Are you happy with that ending?’ He said ‘I’m not taking the new ball’ and that was the first time I heard about it,” Anderson said.
“But he bought in really well, came on and bowled brilliantly. Robbo bowled great too and could easily have had three or four wickets in that first spell. It just didn’t work for him.”
In addition to adjusting to his role as a first-change sailor, Broad was also on hand to support Anderson in the middle. Having just suggested a field change that helped him beat Harmer in lbw, he followed up with some words of wisdom after Anderson took two wickets in two balls.
“Stuart came over and said, ‘When I got my two International Test hat-tricks, I just went in full force,'” Anderson explained with a smile.
“So I tried to go full and straight, but I got my line terribly wrong. I got a little dizzy and I was probably trying to bowl a little too fast.”
Jonny Bairstow may have scored the lion’s share of the point in fourth wicket that cemented England’s position, but it was Crawley’s hard work and self-denial during a cautious inning worth 17 in 77 balls that stood out.
“The way he played allowed Johnny to play his natural game. I think it’s been a brilliantly intelligent inning from him so far,” Anderson added.
“His performance wasn’t as good as he would have liked but today he read the situation brilliantly and played exactly how we expected him to.”
https://www.independent.co.uk/sport/cricket/james-anderson-dean-elgar-south-africa-stuart-broad-england-b2152913.html James Anderson felt that South Africa was playing into England’s hands by batting