James Anderson inspired England to a famous fifth day win over India in the first Test, paving the way for a 227-run victory with an astonishing spell of reverse swing in Chennai.
Four days of hard-earned dominance had left the tourists on the cusp of an upset against opponents who had lost just one of their last 35 matches on home turf dating back to 2012, and Anderson’s magnificent work in the morning session made it a reality.
The 38-year-old defied expectations that spin would be the only way to finish things off, dismissing Shubman Gill and Ajinkya Rahane in an over that will go down as one of the most compelling in England’s recent history.
Both batsmen saw their off stump go cartwheeling as Anderson got the ball hooping in outrageously, and there could easily have been an lbw decision against Rahane in between. By the time he had the dangerous Rishabh Pant cheaply caught at short cover, Anderson had swung the game – quite literally – with a five-over burst of three wickets for six runs.
Jack Leach was also a key performer, bouncing back from some damage in the first innings to claim for four for 74, while Ben Stokes had the satisfaction of clean bowling India captain Virat Kohli for 72.
Simply the best
— VVS Laxman (@VVSLaxman281) February 9, 2021
Former India batsman VVS Laxman faced some of the best attacks there have been in a 16-year Test career but pinned his colours to the mast, anointing Anderson as the best there has been.
A tale of two tweets
Looking forward to this … India clear favourites … 3-0 is my prediction but you just never know … 👍 https://t.co/ln4z5gXJNo
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 3, 2021
To hammer India in India is an incredible performance … 227 run victory … This team are onto something potentially very special this year … #INDvENG
— Michael Vaughan (@MichaelVaughan) February 9, 2021
Former England captain Michael Vaughan predicted a handsome series win for the home side and, while that may still be the case, his original scoreline is already out of the window. After five days in Chennai, he sees more reason for cheer in Joe Root’s side.
Bearing the burden
One stat regarding Joe Root, he’s now the top of the England batsman who has been top scorer in a match
•Root 18x•Len Hutton,Wally Hammond, Colin Cowdrey, Alistair Cook 17x•Geoff Boycott, David Gower, Graham Gooch 14x
— Garry Morgan (@GLMStats) February 9, 2021
Root’s prolific start to the year has seen him climb up several of England’s record lists. He now has a new one to call his own after making 258 across two knocks in this game.