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On this day in 2003: James Anderson takes five wickets on Test debut

UK Sport | Published:

The Lancastrian was fresh off some standout displays in the 2003 World Cup.

James Anderson started his record-breaking Test career in appropriate fashion on this day 17 years ago, taking five wickets as England trounced Zimbabwe by an innings and 92 runs at Lord’s.

Now a master craftsman in the art of swing bowling, back then Anderson was able to gain lavish movement at high speed although he lacked the guile that would come to define his later years.

Here, the PA news agency looks back at the Test debut of a bowler who was a couple of months shy from his 21st birthday, but had already begun to make his mark on the international scene.

Showing promise

James Anderson, left, took a hat-trick against Essex, with one of his victims Nasser Hussain, right (Gareth Copley/PA)
James Anderson, left, took a hat-trick against Essex, with one of his victims Nasser Hussain, right (Gareth Copley/PA)

In at the deep end

Anderson, centre, had already started to make waves on the international circuit before his Test debut (David Davies/PA)
Anderson, centre, had already started to make waves on the international circuit before his Test debut (David Davies/PA)

Making a splash

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England were a side on the rise under Hussain while Zimbabwe were steadily declining in the longest format. Even so, this fixture at the Home of Cricket was a one-sided battering. England ran up 472 before Anderson bowled Mark Vermeulen with a trademark in-swinger to leave Zimbabwe on 48 for one after day two. The following day, Anderson ran through Zimbabwe’s middle and lower order, cleaning up captain Heath Streak in the process, en route to figures of five for 73. Anderson went wicketless in the second innings but, nevertheless, a star was on the rise.

Aftermath

Anderson took a one-day international hat-trick against Pakistan in the summer of 2003 but his progress stalled over the next couple of years. First a change of action which aimed to avoid injury led to a loss of rhythm before a stress fracture in his back materialised. However, after a couple of false starts, Anderson assumed the mantle of pace spearhead and has not looked back as 584 Test wickets – the best in the world by a seamer – would attest.

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