The 1st Test match between England and Australia has only further cemented the assumption that Jimmy Anderson is England's number one bowler and arguably the best bowler in the world at present.

To achieve ten wickets on what can only be described as a docile pitch at Trent Bridge was nothing short of remarkable. He is without doubt Alastair Cook's 'go to' bowler when England need a wicket and inspiration.

Anderson has spearheaded England's attack for a number of years now and is viewed as the leader of the pack - without him England lack the penetration that they need. By claiming the final four wickets in England's victory on Sunday, he more than proved his worth, particularly after suffering with cramp prior to lunch.

When he arrived on the international scene, Anderson tried to bowl too fast and was wayward as is normally the case when the innocence of youth takes over. However, he still produced some spectacular spells which gave the England selectors belief that he was a bowler worth persevering with over future years.

I witnessed first hand some of his early notable performances in 2003 when in One Day internationals he grabbed four wickets against Pakistan at Cape Town in the 2003 World Cup and a hat-trick, the first by an England bowler in ODIs, against the same opposition at The Oval later in the same year.

He has now matured in to the great Test bowler we see today. This has not been an overnight development. Commentator, journalist and former player, Jonathan Agnew, complemented him in his own article after the first Test against Australia.

"Anderson is head and shoulders above every other seam bowler in this series and England would not be anywhere near the same force without him . . .

"He really is very special . . . His every ball is a challenge for the batsman. With metronomic accuracy, he bowls orthodox swing and reverse swing, cutters and slower balls."

You get the feeling, as a spectator, that when Anderson is asked to bowl something will always happen. He is capable of producing a wicket taking ball on any surface simply because he has the variety of deliveries to do this.

His hard work and the central contract system that the ECB put in place has certainly helped Anderson develop his bowling. The first Test was testament to Anderson's skills - his conventional dismissal of Australian captain Michael Clarke in the first innings and his off-cutter that dismissed Chris Rodgers in the second innings are typical of the man and his variety of deliveries. 

He is now the third leading Test match wicket-taker for England, with 317, only behind the legends of Sir Ian Botham (383) and Bob Willis (325) - there is no doubt that Anderson will leap-frog both if he stays free of injury. He is already England's all-time leading ODI wicket-taker.

Anderson does not rest on his laurels as he is constantly trying to better himself. He has worked hard at his batting to become an option for England as night-watchman and is considered one of England's best fielders in any position.

Most of all, he is now crucial to England as they bid to not only retain The Ashes but also to go down under and beat Australia in their own back yard in the winter.


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