England bowler James Anderson admits struggles on ‘kryptonite’ Edgbaston pitch

England bowler James Anderson admits struggles on ‘kryptonite’ Edgbaston pitch

England’s record wicket-taker James Anderson has described the Edgbaston pitch as “kryptonite” for his style of bowling and is praying for livelier surfaces as the Ashes continues.

Anderson, who turns 41 next month, struggled to make an impact during Australia’s tense two-wicket victory with just one wicket in 38 overs.

With minimal swing or seam and gentle carry, Anderson’s primary weapons were dulled and he did not even bowl in the decisive final session.

That has put his place in some doubt for Wednesday’s second Test at Lord’s, though his record at the home of cricket – where he has 117 wickets at 24.58 – tells a different story.

Anderson managed the solitary wicket of Alex Carey at Edgbaston.
Anderson managed the solitary wicket of Alex Carey at Edgbaston (David Davies/PA)

Writing in the Daily Telegraph, Anderson admitted: “That pitch was like kryptonite for me. There was not much swing, no reverse swing, no seam movement, no bounce and no pace.

“I have tried over the years to hone my skills so I can bowl in any conditions but everything I tried made no difference. I felt like I was fighting an uphill battle.

“There was a bit of rustiness but I gave it everything I could. Having played for a long time, I realise you cannot take wickets every game. Sometimes it is not your week. It felt like that for me.

“It is a long series and hopefully I can contribute at some point, but if all the pitches are like that, I am done in the Ashes series.

“I know I was not on top of my game. It was not my best performance. I know I have more to offer and contribute to the team. I want to make up for it at Lord’s and all I can do is turn up on Sunday and prepare to play.”

Anderson was twice stood down from new-ball duty at Edgbaston, a rarity in his two-decade Test career, but he revealed he was part of that decision.

“I had a chat with Ben Stokes about how I felt. We agreed it was the type of pitch the taller bowlers were getting more out of. I was completely on board with that,” he said.

England are continuing to assess Moeen Ali’s injured finger, which prevented the spinner playing a full part in the fourth innings of the match. Head coach Brendon McCullum has said the all-rounder will play if the medical staff can patch up the badly blistered index finger, but back-up options remain under consideration.

Surrey’s Will Jacks did his cause no harm on Thursday night when he smashed five sixes in an over during a knock of 96 against Middlesex in the Vitality Blast. His spin bowling is less developed, but explosive batting is very much part of the current England philosophy.

Mark Wood, who is capable of hitting paces in excess of 96mph, is also an increasingly attractive option. Jofra Archer’s speed caused big problems for Australia during the Lord’s Test of 2019 and Wood is the only available option who can recreate that kind of hostility.