Anderson hails ‘relentless’ England after South Africa bowled out at Old Trafford
Having recalled Simon Harmer as a second spinner, Proteas captain Dean Elgar allowed the make-up of his team to shape his judgement at the toss. A gloomy outlook at Emirates Old Trafford meant seamers were always likely to enjoy themselves early on, but Elgar opted to bat first anyway in a bid to set up the match for his slow bowlers.
But the gambit backfired as Anderson and Stuart Broad helped themselves to three wickets each as the tourists were rolled over for 151.
England finished on 111-3 in reply, Zak Crawley and Jonny Bairstow sharing an unbeaten stand of 68 to make sure the seamers’ good work did not go to waste. Afterwards, Anderson welcomed Elgar’s decision.
“I didn’t mind it, actually. Pitches here are normally good to bowl on with a new ball, especially early on,” he said. “The lights were on, it was cloud and it felt like not the worst toss to lose.
“As a bowler, when you see it moving around like that, it’s always great. We know the weather has been pretty average here this last week so it’s been under cover quite a bit and, although it felt hard on top, there was definitely going to be some moisture in there somewhere.
“But you still have to bowl well. We just thought of trying to bash away good areas for as long as possible. We were just relentless with our areas after lunch and everyone bowled superbly.”
While Anderson retained his usual new-ball duties, Broad was forced to wait after seeing Ollie Robinson deployed first at the Brian Statham End.
Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow may have done the lion’s share of the scoring in the fourth-wicket stand that cemented England’s position.
But it was Crawley’s hard-work and self-denial during a cautious innings worth 17 in 77 balls that stood out.
“The way he played allowed Johnny to play his natural game, I thought it was a brilliantly intelligent innings from him so far,” Anderson added.
“His output has not been as good as he’d want it to be but today he read the situation brilliantly and played exactly how we needed him to play.”