Michael Atherton lauds 'amazing' England star during second Sri Lanka Test

Michael Atherton described England’s James Anderson as ‘the complete bowler’ after he took three wickets on a day one of the second Test against Sri Lanka in Galle.

Recalled to the team in place of the rested Stuart Broad, Anderson claimed figures of 3-24 from 19 overs as Sri Lanka reached 229-4 by the close of play.

England’s record wicket-taker took two wickets in his third over – dismissing Kusal Perera and Oshada Fernando in the space of five balls – and ended Lahiru Thirimanne’s stay shortly after lunch.

Despite Anderson’s early wickets, the day just about belonged to Sri Lanka, who recovered from their defeat in the first Test to impress with the bat and frustrate England’s bowlers.

Angelo Mathews, the 33-year-old all-rounder, scored an unbeaten 107 and put on 117 with captain Dinesh Chandimal, who made 52 before being trapped lbw by Mark Wood.

Anderson became the first pace bowler in history to reach 600 Test wickets in his last red-ball match for England in August and Atherton said all his skills were evident on a tricky first day against Sri Lanka.

‘He is an amazing cricketer,’ former England captain Atherton told Sky Sports.

‘He has always been excellent in home conditions but he has learned and become the complete bowler in conditions, really, that can’t be more unhelpful for a fast medium swing and seam bowler.

‘If he’s not getting people out, he’s not going for runs. He is a master craftsman and it is a pleasure to watch him bowl. Anderson and [Stuart] Broad are fabulous role models for young bowlers.’

Anderson, meanwhile, said: ‘There were a lot of nerves this morning – it’s not unusual but there were more than normal as I have not played for a while and you want to hit the ground running and get into rhythm early on. Luckily it slotted straight back in.

‘Woody was saying he was tired after three overs so to get through eight was an amazing effort!

‘He really deserved his wicket as I thought he bowled really well in the first game while going wicketless.’

Sri Lanka, 1-0 down in the two-Test series, will be keen to make the most of their promising position on day two and post a telling first-innings score.

Mathews, who made his 11th Test century, said: ‘I got into a rhythm in the second innings of the first Test [he scored 71 from 219 balls], so I thought “if I can get a start I’m not going to give it away”.

‘I had to work extremely hard. They gave us nothing, but we are 229-4 and we cannot give it away now.’

More to follow…

Source: Read Full Article