'He's a special, special commodity, isn't he? He's something that doesn't come along very often and we've got to enjoy him while he's around'
Effusive in his praise for very effective James Anderson, England skipper Joe Root says the veteran paceman is a 'special commodity', who is getting better with age.
The 36-year-old Anderson crossed the 100-wicket mark at Lord's during England's comprehensive victory by an innings and 159-run win in the second Test against India . Anderson is also on the cusp of overtaking Glenn McGrath as the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket. With 553 wickets, he is 10 short of the Australian great.
"He's a special, special commodity, isn't he? He's something that doesn't come along very often and we've got to enjoy him while he's around. There's been chat about his longevity but at the minute he's bowling better than he ever has before," Root said.
"Even though the conditions suited, you've still got to put the ball in the right area and ask the right questions of the batsmen. Throughout the whole game he did just that, he set the tone well with Stuart (Broad), and as a whole bowling group we were really, really good,” said Root.
"His record suggest just that - 100 wickets here at Lord's now. Time and again he puts in fantastic performances, and you know if he's not taking wickets he's going at two an over so he always gives you control as have the rest of the guys throughout this series. But for him to be performing as he is now is something else. It's great to watch, and to be a part of. He's a massive part of this team,” he added.
The home skipper hailed his team's bowling performance, which handed them a 2-0 lead in the five-match series.
James Anderson took match-figures of 9-43, while Stuart Broad ran through the Indian middle order on Sunday with 4-44. Chris Woakes, with 4-43 in 16 overs across two innings, was nearly unplayable as well.
"I don't see any lack of fight, or lack of trying (from them). India are doing everything they can, but from my perspective, I'm so pleased we're bowling as well as we are. That's what's been the difference. It is not necessarily India but how well we have performed When you build pressure for long periods, it's difficult as a batsman to get through that sometimes. We've given them nothing," said Root on Sunday.
Additionally for his 137 not out as England notched up 396-7 declared, Chris Woakes was named man of the match. Returning from injury, Root said that he filled the void left by Ben Stokes.
"He's a big part of our squad, all three formats, it's been a frustrating summer for him, he's been injured for a long part of it. But he settled in magnificently well with that first spell in particular, then took that confidence into his batting, that partnership changed the game, turned it on its head, and got us miles ahead on that surface. It was worth probably 550 on another wicket. Jonny (Bairstow) won't get plaudits either but I thought he played exceptionally well and got us into a really good position," said Root.
He then talked about how Broad had impressed him through the spell post lunch on Sunday. He said it was imperative to keep these elder bowlers fit throughout the series.
"In his second over, he came up to me and said 'I feel in really good rhythm today, and I'm looking forward to a long spell' – which is exactly what you want to hear from one of your senior bowlers. He didn't disappoint - he bowled exceptionally well in those conditions, and it must have been very difficult to come up against that. Throughout this series is we're not relying on one individual. Every guy within that attack has put in crucial performances throughout the two games,” he said.
India now have a tough task ahead of them to overturn a 2-0 deficit. Root said that a 5-0 whitewash is definitely possible, but England need to keep themselves grounded ahead of the third Test starting in Nottingham on August 18.
"I think they're different – a very different side, different challenges (from Pakistan earlier in the summer, who drew 1-1 here). We're playing some really good cricket at the minute, and we've got to try to take that forward. Obviously, that would be the dream - to put in five complete performances and have five wins.
"But it's important we don't get complacent, arrogant, or look too far ahead. We're playing against the number one side in the world, with some very talented players, and we have to make sure we keep looking to learn and develop."