James Anderson and Stuart Broad: A tale of Swing and Seam

James Anderson, a swing bowler who can swing it both ways, but generally outward. Stuart Broad, a seam bowler who tests batsmen’s endurance with his lethal bounce. The difference in their style of bowling makes them a ferocious duo. As of 2018, they have played 108 Tests together, having picked up 831 wickets with Broad scalping 385 and Anderson taking 446.

Hunt in Pair

The Anderson-Broad partnership was considered the No.1 challenge for the touring Indian side ahead of the series. The numbers of first Test were underwhelming though, they picked only six wickets between them, but that didn’t project the whole picture. Anderson made every ball count and jeopardised the Indian batsmen at will. Broad didn’t bowl much in the first innings due to a flu, but snapped up the openers in the corresponding one. These numbers were only to improve in the next match.

James Anderson and Stuart Broad of England look on during day five of the First Test 

In the first innings at Lord’s, Anderson swung his way to 5 wickets, while Broad could manage a solitary wicket under infallible conditions. What differentiates the best from the rest is the ability to reinvent their game. That is exactly what the English pair did in the second innings. Anderson’s tactics of escalating from swing to seam reaped dividends in his very second over when Murali Vijay was cut in half by a ball that nipped in and was caught by the keeper. He switched to swing bowling as soon as it started to do something and grabbed 3 more wickets.

Stuart Broad’s adjustment was the one which was more surprising. In the first 8 overs of his second spell, he was looking to swing the ball like he did at Edgbaston, but one thing was different. He was actually swinging it and sometimes even prodigiously. The wickets of Pujara and Karthik were absolute jaffas with Rahane chasing a ball that held the line and moved away a touch. Broad got Kohli too, but this time with his usual seam and bounce. The duo scalped a total of 14 wickets, 9 of which were taken by Anderson and hence, all doubts were put to rest.

The deadly duo – By numbers

Facing Anderson and Broad in England is a nightmare in itself, but facing them in nightmarish conditions, well best of luck! Besides everything, even when one of the pair is not effective in an innings, the other simply takes charge. It just takes one innings for them to learn where they went wrong, mandating themselves to rekindle. To state in one word, Stuart Broad and James Anderson are ‘relentless’, especially at home venues. Mostly, one of them ends up leading the bowling charge for England, thereby making them one of the leading bowling pairs in Test cricket right now.

In 80 matches at home, James Anderson has picked up as many as 357 wickets at an incredible average of 23.65, while Broad has 266 scalps under his belt in home conditions. In 15 Tests played together against India, the duo has picked up a total number of 125 wickets. 

How long will the magic last?

Even before the India series, there were serious questions raised on the performances of Broad and Anderson by quite a few English experts. After the sub par show in Edgbaston, Nasser Hussain felt one of the pair had to be shown the door. Paradoxically, they both roared back at Lord’s, having shown a stellar display. For now, the questions would rest.

But with Anderson at 36 and Broad at 32, one seems to wonder how long? About a decade ago, Steve Harmison and Matthew Hoggard dwindled after being under the scanner, but the current pair is a cut above the rest. They have aged like fine wine, having choked the opposition time and again. Nonetheless, the magic will last until they decide to hang their boots from international cricket.

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