True, it’s not a Schubert Lied, but the above song, which resounds around Test cricket grounds wherever England play these days, contains (almost) as much feeling and conjures up as strong a sensation of wonder and mastery of composition as a tune from the Austrian genius. For James Anderson is quietly rising up the rankings of all-time great English bowlers. His stats don’t show it—mainly because of a disastrous few years when coaches tried to change his action—but Anderson over the last three years has been virtually unplayable. He can move the ball both ways in the air and off the pitch. He has an uncanny ability to get the sphere to land on the pitch exactly where he wants it to. He is phenomenally fit, and just shy of 32 years old, which means he could easily become England’s greatest ever wicket-taker. He just took 10 wickets against the Australians in the first Ashes Test match, and is widely regarded as the essential difference between the two sides.
Here for your delight is his dismissal of Michael Clarke: a ball that moves through the air, straightens off the seam, and gently persuades the left bail to leave its position on top of the stumps and point the Australian captain in the direction of the pavilion.