James Anderson has played Test cricket for almost 20 years, but he rates England’s victory in Rawalpindi as one of the best moments of his career.
On the eve of the game, half of the playing team was sick with a viral virus, affecting 13 to 14 members of the traveling party, and there were concerns about whether the game should be delayed by a day. Will Jacks received a surprising debut cap for England on the morning of the match when Ben Foakes was unable to play because of illness.
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James Anderson Hails Joe Root
Although James Anderson said Joe Root had been sick the whole game and that the week had been difficult, Root had been one of the few players to train the day before the game.
“I can’t really put it into words because it’s hard. It was an awful start to the week,” the 40-year-old seamer said.
“Actually, the morning of the game, not knowing if we’re going to get 11 players on the field or going to bed the night before not knowing if we’re going to wake up and there’s going to be enough fit players.
“But then the way the lads have just stood up and just cracked on really, there’s been no whinging.
“Rooty has been off the field every half an hour puking up throughout the game, which was an amazing effort from him to bat the way he did.”
In the second innings, England struck a remarkable 264 runs in 35.5 overs at a run rate of more than 7.50 an over to set Pakistan 343 to win. Root contributed 73 runs from 68 balls to the cause.
Can’t Believe We Got A Result On This Pitch: James Anderson
In an effort to confuse the bowler, the Yorkshireman Joe Root even turned to batting left-handed for two balls during his innings while displaying no outward symptoms of difficulty.
James Anderson continued: “Then, to be out on the field. An incredible effort from everyone. And I still can’t quite believe we’ve got a result on this pitch. It’s just incredible.”
With a hazardous declaration on the fourth evening, England artificially created the game, enticing Pakistan to push for victory while giving themselves enough time to bowl out the hosts.
On the last day, the obstinately flat ground and the quickly waning light increased the strain on England as they sought victory. James Anderson commended the team’s performance as a whole.
“The lads are saying that is the best away victory but I can’t remember many better than that at home either to be honest,” he said.
“To force the result on that wicket just took an absolutely mammoth effort from everyone, the way we batted in the first innings, 650-odd runs in 100-odd overs was outstanding. And everyone contributed to that, which is great.
“We knew we were going to declare and have a bowl of them that night (on the fourth day). We didn’t necessarily think it would be at tea. But the way we batted allowed us to declare at tea and dangle them a carrot, which on this wicket, I think we needed to do.
“Because, as we saw at the back end of the day when they’ve just dead-batted it, it was very hard to get anything out of it.
“We knew it was going to be a nervy one. But the way we stuck at our task was just brilliant.”