The ball pitched perhaps a foot outside off stump, angled in just enough and bowled the former England captain through the gate as he jabbed down on fresh air, the off and middle stumps left flattened in the process.
As Root held his defeated pose, as if to say “how on earth has that happened?”, Anderson raised his right arm in triumph and leapt in celebration, then ran towards the slips for a round of high-fives.
“Left me out of the West Indies tour, did you, along with my mate, Broady?” Anderson’s body language seemed to be saying, the bowler flashing a fleeting look of triumph in Root’s direction as the Yorkshireman reluctantly dragged himself away, perhaps undone by a lack of bounce as much as any pace or movement.
The decision to leave Anderson and Stuart Broad out of that series, one in which Root must presumably have had a say as the then England captain, is water under the bridge but it formed an intriguing subplot to this match nonetheless.
Anderson said recently that he has “stopped trying to make sense” of a decision with which he passionately disagreed and may never quite get over, lamenting a lack of communication that amounted to “a five-minute phone call” to explain his own omission.
Ultimately, though, it was honours even between the two great champions, respectively the finest English batsman and bowler of their generation, in a Roses game which held the interest sufficiently to enthuse the sparse crowds (an aggregate of 5,539 attended across the four days), but which ended in the draw that had always seemed probable.
Whereas Anderson could point to the wicket of Root, as spectacular as any of the 1,037 he has taken at first-class level, Root could point to the small matter of a first innings century in which he got the better not only of the 39-year-old Anderson but all the Lancashire bowlers, whom he toyed with, teased and tyrannized too.
When Root fell yesterday, his only scoring shot having been an angled guide to the third-man boundary off Anderson’s previous ball, Yorkshire were 45-3 and up against it. They were still 142 runs adrift after being forced to follow-on, and there were 63.2 overs remaining in the game.
Yet the pitch was still true and good for batting, if a little on the slow side, and the draw was achieved without major alarm. Harry Brook, the coming man of English cricket, shepherded the escape with an unbeaten 82, made from 157 balls with 11 fours, his seventh score of 50-plus in eight innings this season, a remarkable young player in the form of his life, the home team closing on 169-6.
In the final analysis, and as the dust starts to settle, this was a match in which Yorkshire made life unnecessarily hard for themselves, a match in which they could have paid for self-inflicted errors.
Dropped catches alone cost them 335 of the 566 runs amassed by Lancashire in their solitary innings, with Yorkshire’s catching curiously off-colour in the opening five games.
Keaton Jennings, who struck a career-best 238, the highest score for Lancashire in a Roses match, was dropped on two by wicketkeeper Harry Duke off captain Steve Patterson, one of four reprieves enjoyed by the left-handed opener.
Steven Croft, who added 237 with Jennings for the third Lancashire wicket, was spilled on five by Brook at third slip off Tom Loten and went on to make 104, his maiden Roses hundred.
Had Jennings and Croft been dispatched early, Patterson’s decision to bowl at the toss would have looked a good deal better than it did when Lancashire, at one stage, were 426-3 on day two.
As it was, Yorkshire might want to freshen up the odd position for the visit to Headingley of Warwickshire on Thursday, the last of six back-to-back games before the Championship takes a break for the T20 Blast. Yippee.
Following a minute’s silence yesterday for Andrew Symonds, the former Australia all-rounder killed in a car crash, Yorkshire resumed on 356-8, 210 behind, and still 61 short of avoiding the follow-on.
Lancashire, for whom Symonds played in 2005, duly enforced after Patterson got turned around by a short ball from Luke Wood and was caught in the gully, and Haris Rauf was bowled aiming a brainless mow through the leg-side off Parkinson, the hosts all-out for 379.
Adam Lyth went leg-before to the third ball of the second innings; Dawid Malan and George Hill were caught behind; Harry Duke was brilliantly taken by a diving Luke Wells at slip and Dom Bess pouched at short-leg, but it never felt as if Yorkshire would lose with Brook at the wheel, although he did have a life on 30 when a diving Wood dropped him at mid-wicket off Anderson, Lancashire’s last hope.
Honours even, then, between Root and Anderson, and honours even between white rose and red.