NOTTINGHAM: James Anderson, swinging the ball away from the bat at close to 90 miles an hour, shot out the top six New Zealand batsmen before bad light prevented him taking all ten in the innings as he threatened.
The second day of the third and final Test between England and New Zealand belonged to him and no-one else.
He made his highest Test score, he fielded like a demon and as the players trooped off the New Zealand captain Daniel Vettori walked over and shook his hand.
Vettori’s nice gesture
You don’t see gestures that border on chivalry from any sport in the 21st century when commercial considerations come first but Anderson, running in with rhythm and balance and determination showed the Brian Statham side of his character: the Kiwis missed and he hit and he finished the day with his finest Test figures — 15-3-42-6.
New Zealand needs to bat exceedingly well to avoid the follow-on and a miracle if it is to win this Test and level the series 1-1. More likely that England, at its most ruthless, will end the Test 2-0 to the good.
The conditions, with overhead cloud and a pitch that already had a tendency to keep low suited him perfectly although, oddly, Ryan Sidebottom, the must successful Nottinghamshire bowler of the year could not ring the same effect from his own pitch.
Anderson made his highest Test score before lunch as he and Stuart Broad, making his first Test fifty, put on 76 for the eighth wicket so that England was all out for 364.
He was clearly relaxed by his two hour innings as a nightwatchman sent in to protect two tail-enders — so it is said — as he batted twice as long as Sidebottom and Monty Panesar together.
Broad has the shots and the footwork and the genes from a father who ought to have made more Test runs. Stuart is easy-going, affable, assured; a different character from his father Chris, the grumpy opening bat turned strict match referee.
When New Zealand batted we saw for the first time just how ordinary some of its batsmen are. Aaron Redmond was turned right round as his off-stump spun out of the ground; Brendon McCullum fared the same fate with just 14 runs scored.
Jamie How lasted two hours for 40 before he was fifth out but by that time the adventurer Ross Taylor had been caught in the gully and Daniel Flynn out leg-before for nought.
Jacob Oram, who has often batted heroically in this series, struggled for 25 minutes over seven before he was caught behind — six down for 93 was a rout and as Anderson led England into the pavilion grinning modestly the members rose to salute him.
It was interesting to remember that only 72 hours ago quite a few pundits were calling for him to be dropped.
England — 1st innings: A. Strauss c Taylor b Mills 37, A. Cook b Mills 6, M. Vaughan b O’Brien 16, K. Pietersen c Hopkins b O’Brien 115, I. Bell lbw b O’Brien 0, P. Collingwood c Taylor b Mills 0, T. Ambrose c Hopkins b O’Brien 67, S. Broad b Martin 64, J. Anderson c Hopkins b Oram 28, R. Sidebottom (not out) 7, M. Panesar c McCullum b Vettori 0; Extras (b-10, lb-9, w-1, nb-4): 24; Total (in 126.5 overs): 364.
Fall of wickets: 1-14, 2-44, 3-84, 4-85, 5-86, 6-247, 7-262, 8-338, 9-361.
New Zealand bowling: Martin 22-5-83-1, Mills 31-8-76-3, O’Brien 23-4-74-4, Oram 22-7-35-1, Vettori 28.5-4-77-1.
New Zealand — 1st innings: J. How c Ambrose b Anderson 40, A. Redmond b Anderson 1, B. McCullum b Anderson 9, R. Taylor c Pietersen b Anderson 21, D. Flynn lbw b Anderson 0, G. Hopkins (batting) 11, J. Oram c Ambrose b Anderson 7, D. Vettori (batting) 3; Extras (lb-3, w-1): 4; Total (for six wkts. in 33.2 overs): 96.
Fall of wickets: 1-2, 2-14, 3-62, 4-62, 5-77, 6-93.
England bowling: Sidebottom 11.2-1-36-0, Anderson 15-3-42-6, Collingwood 2-0-5-0, Broad 5-2-10-0.