James Anderson has become the most prolific fast bowler in the history of Test cricket. He surpassed Glenn McGrath's tally of 563 wickets in the last session of the Test series against India at the Oval. Though Jimmy is credited for keeping swing bowling alive in today's cricket, he is known for being lethal in conditions that assist swing bowling.
Only 196 out of his 564 wickets have come outside England and Wales. He has picked up less than four wickets in every country he has played in, and West Indies is the only region outside England where his bowling average is under 30. Also, his wickets taken per match is considerably less than anyone with over 550 wickets.
But what statistics don't reveal is his match-winning impact even outside England. In the last decade or so, England has been the second-best travelling team behind South Africa. In fact, England is the only team to have won a Test series in India in the last fourteen years. England also won their first Ashes series in Australia after 24 years in 2010-11.
England also won Test series in New Zealand, South Africa and most other parts of the world - with Anderson playing a crucial role. He also contributed with the bat whenever possible, and saved many a day for England with his defense. Let us have a look at his best performance in each country.
4-66, 3-61 and 7(35) vs Australia at Sydney, January 2011.
England would have had to wait more than 24 years to win an Ashes series in Australia, had it not been for Anderson's 24 wickets at 26 apiece. Though the seamer took four-wicket hauls in all of England's wins, his seven wickets and 41 minutes at the crease with the bat in the series decider sealed the deal for his team. England was 2-1 up in the series but had to ensure they didn't lose this match, for their first series victory in Australia after 1986-87.
In Australia's first innings, Anderson put brakes to Australia's lower middle order - taking the wickets of Brad Haddin, Steve Smith and Peter Siddle in the space of 46 runs. His four-wicket haul in the first innings was backed up by a solid opening stand from his captain Andrew Strauss and England's golden bat for the series - Alastair Cook. But when his team lost three big wickets of Strauss, Trott and Pietersen on the final session of Day 2, Anderson was sent in as the night watchman.
He batted out the remainder of the day, and saw off the first hour on Day 3, settling the nerves of his team and his partner Alastair Cook. Though he did not score many runs, his innings provided a cushion to not only Cook - who scored 189 - but also Ian Bell and Matt Prior who scored a century each. A 364-run lead in the first innings was good enough to ensure at least a draw.
In their second innings, Australia was looking to build a partnership with Usman Khawaja and stand-in captain Michael Clarke both getting off to starts. After a 65-run partnership between the two, Jimmy got both caught behind off Prior within seven runs, which set off a mini-collapse. Peter Siddle tried to change things with Steve Smith's support but holed out to a catch from Anderson in the deep after an 84-run partnership. Three overs later, he got the wicket of Hilfenhaus, again caught behind. Three overs later, Tremlett bowled Beer and England won by an innings and 83 runs.
England's series victory was remarkable in the sense that it came against the world champion side which had humiliated them 5-0 on their last tour. Ricky Ponting captained Australia during the first half of the series, but nobody could stop England from retaining the Ashes urn, just months before the World Cup. Anderson had finally come of age.
5-73, 2-57 and 12* vs New Zealand at Wellington, March 2008
England was going through a transition and was not finding it easy after a home series defeat to India, followed by a series defeat in Sri Lanka. After losing the ODI series, England lost the first match of the three-match Test series in New Zealand as well. Asked to bat by the home team in the second Test, England managed a decent first innings total of 342.
New Zealand suffered a setback in their first innings, losing both their openers with the team total at just nine runs - both wickets going to Anderson. Anderson kept taking wickets at regular intervals and took the wickets of all of New Zealand's top five. The home team were bowled out for 198, giving the visitors a healthy 144-run lead. All of England's top six scored double figures in the second innings, and an unbeaten 11-ball 12 from Anderson helped them set the home team an improbable target of 438 runs.
Though New Zealand again lost wickets at regular intervals, a healthy 81-run partnership between Matthew Sinclair and Ross Taylor was putting the Kiwis back on track. Jimmy broke through, getting the wicket of Sinclair and Sidebottom took Taylor's wicket not much later. On the fifth morning, Anderson broke another 41-run partnership for the ninth wicket between Brendon McCullum and Mark Gillespie, getting the latter. McCullum's wicket was taken at the other end by Monty Panesar, and England won the match by 126 runs.
England carried the winning momentum into the third and deciding Test and won the match by a similar margin - marking an amazing comeback to win a Test series in New Zealand after 11 years.
3-89, 3-38 and 9 runs vs India, 3rd Test at Kolkata, December 2012
After losing the first Test, England came back strongly to win the second Test with 19 wickets between spin twins Graeme Swann and Monty Panesar. The third Test was set up nicely, and India chose to bat after winning the toss. After a flying start by the home team, England started taking wickets at regular intervals.
On sporting wickets, the seamers and spinners contributed equally - Panesar picking four and Anderson picking three, including the big wicket of Sachin Tendulkar. India was bowled out for 316, and with an opening partnership of 165, England was well on course. A brilliant 190 from captain Alastair Cook ensured a 207-run lead for his team by the end of the first innings. The Indians counter-attacked, getting to 86 for 0 in just 21 overs.
But soon after began a collapse, and India was reeling at 107 for four. What was heartening to see was the way Anderson was bending his back on a wicket that didn't offer much help for the quickies. Anderson got the twin wickets of Yuvraj Singh and MS Dhoni, both in the space of two overs and zero runs. Finn followed up with the wickets of Virat Kohli and Zaheer Khan.
A 50-run partnership for the last wicket only started to threaten England, but Anderson soon bowled last man Ojha. Even a fighting 91 not out from Ravichandran Ashwin could only help his team set the visitors a target of 41, which was easily achieved despite an initial setback by India's spinners. England went up 2-1 in the series and a four-wicket haul in the final match of the series ensured that India was always catching up. The fourth Test ended in a draw, and England secured a series win in India after 28 years.
5-63, 3-98 and 9(52) vs South Africa at Cape Town, January 2010
Though Anderson played a decent supporting hand during England's series victories in South Africa in 2004-05 as well as 2015-16, he played a crucial role during their 2009-10 tour. The series ended in a 1-1 draw, but Jimmy's performances - both with the bat and the ball - were crucial in saving the first and the third Test.
Taking five wickets and playing out over hundred balls to secure a one-wicket draw in the first Test, Anderson was up against a similar situation in the third. Anderson backed his captain's decision to bowl first, taking five wickets in the first innings, including that of both the openers as well as all of South Africa's seamers. But with England failing to get the lead in their first innings, the Proteas set England a mammoth target of 466, despite a courageous spell from Anderson.
With Kevin Pietersen's wicket - England's third - falling in the last four overs of day four, England were struggling at 129 for 3. Yet again, Anderson was sent in as the night watchman, and his job was to hold one end as long as possible. He certainly did not disappoint, almost playing out the first hour of the fifth day before succumbing to spinner Paul Harris. Paul Collingwood and Ian Bell registered a 112-run partnership for the sixth wicket and the lower order just did enough to save the last wicket.
This draw ensured that England would not lose the series. Surprisingly, South Africa, the best Test team in the last 10-15 years, has not managed to win a home series against England in almost 19 years so far.
3-62 and 1-36 vs Sri Lanka at Colombo, April 2012
Though not Anderson's best bowling returns statistically, this performance from Anderson provided his team with their best series result in the island nation in eleven years. Having lost the first Test of the two-match series, Sri Lanka decided to bat first after winning the toss during the second Test at P Sara Oval in Colombo.
Getting off to a steady start on a seemingly flat wicket, Sri Lanka were shocked by three back-to-back wickets off the bowling of James Anderson. Sri Lanka lost their top three - Dilshan, Sangakkara and then Thirimanne - all in the space of nine runs. With Sri Lanka struggling at 30 for 3, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera led the rescuing act. Samaraweera and Angelo Matthews put on the fifties, while Mahela scored a century, but still Sri Lanka could only manage a first innings score of 275.
England scored 460 in their first innings, thanks to a swashbuckling 151 from Kevin Pietersen and 94 from Alastair Cook. Even with seven of Sri Lanka's batsmen scoring runs in the double figures, Sri Lanka could only set the visitors a 94-run target, which was easily chased. Anderson's inspiring spell on a flat top ensured England would not lose a series in Sri Lanka for the first time in eleven years. England would be hoping to better this result in the upcoming tour of Sri Lanka, which begins in less than a month's time - with Anderson being available for the Tests.
2-47 and 4-43 vs West Indies at Grenada, April 2015
Just like touring Sri Lanka, England hasn't enjoyed a great run touring West Indies for the most part of this century. After defeating Brian Lara's team 3-0 in the 2003-04 Test series, England lost the series on their next tour during 2008-09. After a shocking first round exit from the 2015 World Cup - probably Anderson's last - England's best chance at coming up was a series against West Indies, who also suffered a humiliating defeat to New Zealand in the quarterfinals.
After a slow draw in the first Test of the series, England decided to bowl first after winning the toss of the second Test. Anderson bowled the solid Kagiso Braithwaite in the third over, and after 53.5 overs, West Indies were struggling at 129 for 5. A defiant century from West Indies' go-to man Marlon Samuels put the team back on track before Anderson struck with the new ball to induce Samuel's edge, to Ian Bell at second slip. West Indies were eventually bowled out for 299.
An unbeaten 182 from Joe Root helped England all but bat West Indies out of the game. Anderson again struck in the third over for West Indies' second innings, bowling Devon Smith this time around. Kagiso Brathwaite and Darren Bravo put on a solid 142-run partnership, which was broken by Stuart Broad. Brathwaite was supported by Samuels, and the former went past his century. West Indies were soon leading by 60-odd runs, and with eight wickets in hand.
Looking steady at 224 for 2, West Indies were set aback by yet another fiery new-ball spell by Anderson, losing the key wickets of Brathwaite, Samuels and Chanderpaul - all within just four overs from Anderson. Moeen Ali and Chris Jordan wrapped up West Indies' innings, but Anderson's direct hit to run out Jason Holder came from nowhere, ending West Indies' hopes of putting up a 200-plus target.
England easily chased down a target of 143 and won by nine wickets. This victory ensured at least a series draw for England in West Indies after eleven years.
4-17 and 2-52 vs Pakistan, 3rd Test at Sharjah, November 2015
This is Anderson's only performance in this list that did not contribute to a match or a series victory. England has lost five out of six matches played against Pakistan in UAE - the base of the latter team for this entire decade. England's only draw, which also provided them with a realistic chance of their maiden win, came in the first Test of this series - thanks to four wickets and four good catches from Anderson in a tight game.
England lost the second Test, and Pakistan batted first in the third and final Test. Anderson struck in the third over to get the wicket of Asad Shafiq; then in the 41st over to dismiss Younis Khan, and finally dismissing Misbah-ul-Haq and Rahat Ali with the second new ball. His figures of 15.1-7-17-4 are among the most impressive returns by a seamer in Tests, amid hot and dusty conditions prevalent in the UAE.
Though England managed a 72-run lead in the first innings, Pakistan nullified it with their 101-run opening stand in their second innings. Although Anderson dismissed two batsmen for ducks - including Shoaib Malik, who scored 245 in the first innings of the first Test - Pakistan set England a target of 284. The openers tried putting up a fight, but their middle order failed miserably - handing Pakistan a 127-run victory.
Anderson, who remained not out at the end, proved yet again that his performances are not dependent only on the surrounding conditions and crowd support.