What the papers say: It's all about Jimmy


With the first Test match of the Ashes series finishing in thrilling circumstances, and England winning by just 14 runs, the written media had more than a few angles and threads to ruminate on.

With the first Test match of the Ashes series finishing in thrilling circumstances, and England winning by just 14 runs, the written media had more than a few angles and threads to ruminate on.

Most mentioned England paceman James Anderson, whose 10-wicket haul was the reason England won, really. Some mentioned Ian Bell's century, others praised the plucky Aussies for the fight they put up, while the Aussie journo's seemed sore about the Broad drama and bad umpiring.

The <i>BBC'</i>s <b>Jonathan Agnew</b> was full of praise for Man of the match James Anderson after his 10-wicket haul, writing: "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.

"His every ball is a challenge for the batsman. With metronomic accuracy, he bowls orthodox swing and reverse swing, cutters and slower balls. What is most impressive is the way he disguises his deliveries, hiding the ball in his hands to ensure the batsman has no idea what is coming down at him."

Aggers added of Steve Finn: "The Middlesex man is a bowler short on confidence and Australia know it. In the manner of a pride of lions picking off an old wildebeest from the back of the pack, Australia attacked Finn because they could see he was struggling. I cannot see Finn retaining his place at Lord's, which is a shame because it is his home ground and he actually bowls quite well there."

Former England batsman <b>Geoff Boycott</b> was equally impressed with Jimmy, and said on <i>TMS</i> that the Aussies would have won if Anderson hadn't been on hand: "I thought Australia were going to get home. Brad Haddin was getting away with it before lunch but England sussed him out and slowed him down, a bit of gamesmanship. Without Anderson they would not have got home."

<b>Simon Hughes</b> in the <i>Telegraph</i> was also a fan of Anderson, particularly his range of skills, writing: "Anderson's second 10-wicket haul at Trent Bridge was very different from his first three years ago, against Pakistan, and illustrates how much he has developed in that time.

"Those wickets were mostly top-order players dismissed using lavish, conventional swing with the new, or newish ball. Here virtually all his wickets were achieved by making a roughed up ball move one way or another.

"This has been the major enhancement in his game – finding just enough movement in the air or off the surface with an older ball and utilising it brilliantly. In that sense he is peerless. No one else has his range of skills and adaptability, nor given his 13-over spell on Sunday morning, his stamina."

<b>Simon Barnes</b> was also impressed with how Anderson has developed, and was flowery in his praise in the <i>Times</i>: "I still find it strange to think of James Anderson as the leader, the number one, the boss, the capo di tutti capi. It's been such a long and complex journey.

"He wouldn't be turning up to bowl for England with a purple streak in his hair these days, nor would he be regarded as just another talented lightweight. Over the course of a decade he has grown from promising boy to the go-to man for England. He's the boss, and yesterday at Trent Bridge he took control of a match that was in danger of running out of control."

He added: "Never mind controversies, never mind reviews, never mind dramas, never mind walking and not walking, never mind umpiring mistakes, never mind heroic No 11s. This match was decided on pure quality, on the sustained excellence of James Anderson. Jimmy's match. Jimmy's day."

The <i>Guardian</i>'s <b>Vic Marks</b> felt the Aussies could draw a lot of hope from the narrow defeat, opining: "It is not generally part of an Australian's psyche to take consolation from a "good" defeat. But if ever this was justified it was at the end of this Test.

"They fought like terriers throughout. Team unity has been an issue recently but a combination of Darren Lehmann's appointment and the onset of the Ashes saw the 11 selected united in the pursuit of an unlikely victory. They can gain strength from this performance."

Australian writer <b>Aaron Timms</b> poked fun at his countrymen, and armchair experts, in the <b>Guardian</b>, writing: "There can be little argument that Australia, right now, are playing with the best lower order on the planet (wow).

"And if the explosions of indignation across the internet are anything to go by, we also boast the deepest bank of knowledge among ordinary citizens on the topics of DRS, Aleem Dar's recent umpiring record, Erasmus's fitness for video review office and the biological causes of Stuart Broad's shoe problems of any country in the world.

"The sheer depth of casual, everyday expertise on Dar's historical approach to first slip dismissals, in particular, that we've all been exposed to over the last few days has been truly extraordinary. Hats off, Australia."

<b>Stephen Brenkley</b> of the <i>Independent</i> spared some words for Ian Bell, who scored the match's only century and was crucial to England's win, writing: "For more than a decade Ian Bell has been spoken of in awed tones as a batsman of the highest class. Just before this series began, Matt Prior recalled that when they shared a dressing room as schoolboys, Bell was the golden child. Despite 17 Test hundreds and an accomplished record, something was still missing.

"Not any longer. Bell's innings of 109, which took six and a half hours, was a craftsman's masterpiece. He assessed the conditions and reacted accordingly, slicing the ball repeatedly through and wide of the slip cordon with the dexterity of a surgeon. It was also a persevering innings that nobody else in the side could have played with such elan."

Of course, the Australian media still had a few who were upset about the DRS/Stuart Broad incidents, with <b>Michael Gleeson</b> of the <i>Age</i> going to far as to rip into the Broad family, writing: "Stuart Broad batted as if providing pre-play slips catching practice. Aleem Dar got in on the giggle. Australia were incandescent but, remarkably, were comparatively restrained (consider Sydney and India for how the matter might have turned).

"Broad did not walk. His Dad, a former test player, also refused to walk – not when there was an appeal that was denied, but when he was given out by the umpire. He is now a match referee.

"After play he was interviewed and provided commentary with words to the effect that his son was correct not to leave the ground, that no one walks any more and why would they? Did we mention he is an ICC match referee? The apple does not fall far from the tree and the Broad does not walk far from the wicket."