Jimmy Anderson’s joy was there for all to see after play on the second day at Lord’s as he proclaimed, with conviction, that “if we bowled like that today, with those conditions, we'd bowl most teams in the world out – because I think we were that good.”
Anderson returned 5/20 in just 13.2 overs to get himself up on the Lord’s honours board for the sixth time. He saw to it that India were bundled out for 107 in just 35.2 overs on another rain-interrupted day.
The overcast conditions meant Anderson had the ideal conditions to dismantle the Indian line-up, after England opted to bowl first, and he said the key was to build pressure without sending in anything too loose.
"We hardly bowled any bad balls, we didn't give them much to hit at all – and when you build pressure like that all day, no matter who you are around the world, it is difficult,” he said.
"I think if we were bowling at our batsmen, we'd have the better of them (too). We exploit those conditions as well as anyone in the world. I don't think it's just the Indian batsmen that would have struggled.”
Anderson, 36, is a veteran who has seen it all, but even he admitted surprise at such near-perfect conditions. "Honestly, I'd have been so disappointed if I'd messed up today because they were the ideal conditions to bowl in," he said.
Only 35.2 overs of play were possible, but what a 35.2 overs for you if you're an England fan, a Jimmy Anderson swing masterclass helping dismiss India for 107.#ENGvIND REPORT ➡️ https://t.co/3cAhSjw1Ws pic.twitter.com/5Db1zVrnJs— ICC (@ICC) August 10, 2018
“I find it so much fun when it's like that. You don't often get conditions like that in England anymore, when the ball does that much through the air and off the pitch – the biggest thing is not trying to do too much, do too many different things. You just keep your focus, try and bowl good balls and keep hoping they nick them eventually.
“Some days it hoops round – they've been quite rare actually – but for us, with the experience we've had of bowling on flat decks and the ball doing nothing, when you get the opportunity like that you lick your lips and try to show off your skills.”
But it wasn’t all about Anderson. Chris Woakes, on his return to the XI, picked 2/19 in an exhilarating spell that could have yielded more wickets.
Importantly, he had the prized scalp of Virat Kohli, the India captain who saw off Anderson’s initial burst only to be troubled considerably by Woakes.
"He (Woakes) has worked really hard, he's still been around the squad the last few weeks, and missed out last week,” said Anderson. “But he's a world-class performer on his day. We've seen it before, all round the world, one-day cricket, Test match cricket – he's a brilliant bowler, a brilliant all-rounder, and someone who can do a fantastic job for this team.
“We're just delighted for him. That first game back can always be tricky, especially when you've got world-class batsmen to come up against – but he handled the task brilliantly.”