James Anderson’s 5-40 in the first innings of the Cape Town Test was yet another performance from the veteran England seamer that highlighted the extraordinary longevity of his international career.
Before Jofra Archer was ruled out of the second Test of the series, there were murmurs that James Anderson would be the player to make way for the off-spin of Dom Bess as England looked to rebalance their attack.
— Wisden (@WisdenCricket) January 5, 2020
After his first innings performance at Cape Town – Anderson’s 5-40 helped England register a 46-run first innings lead – there will be no such questions about his place in the side going into the third Test of the series.
Anderson’s 28th five-wicket haul in Test cricket took him above Ian Botham in the all-time list. No England bowler has taken more five-wicket hauls for England than Anderson.
His dismissal of Faf du Plessis on day two meant that Anderson became the first English player to take a Test wicket in 18 consecutive calendar years. Sam Curran was just four years old when Anderson took his first Test wicket, that of Mark Vermeulen in May 2003.
Despite making his Test debut at the age of 20, it has been since his 30th birthday that Anderson has taken the majority of his Test wickets. Since turning 30, Anderson has taken 314 Test wickets at an average of just 23.90. Only Courtney Walsh (341) has taken more wickets as a seamer over the age of 30. Anderson also averages less than 25 against every nation he’s played against other than Australia and New Zealand since turning 30.
Remarkably, Anderson’s record is getting better with age. Since his 35th birthday, Anderson has taken 102 Test wickets at an average of just 20.67. SF Barnes, who played his last Test in 1914, is the only player to have taken more wickets at a better average than Anderson over the age of 35.