'Sentimental' Anderson comeback cost England at Old Trafford - Michael Vaughan
Michael Vaughan deemed England's inclination to bring back ageing James Anderson for the Old Trafford Ashes 2023 Test "sentimental" and insisted it "may have cost" the side the urn. The hosts failed to regain the prestigious prize after a rain-abandoned Day 5 in Manchester, with Australia taking a 2-1 scoreline to the Test series summit at The Oval.
The ongoing summer has been the first where age seems to have finally gotten to the high-spirited Anderson, who has been a defiant figure through injuries and criticism for prolonging his stay over the past four years and has extended his career with great fitness work and evolution of skill.
After two poor outings in Edgbaston and Lord's, Anderson was rested for the Headingley Test to reinvigorate himself. The performance in Leeds from three lions' quartet - Chris Woakes, Mark Wood, Stuart Broad, Ollie Robinson - in a three-day victory was taken as a sign of England's capabilities to move on from their esteemed highest wicket-taker and many felt this could be curtains on him.
But the fast-bowler, who is ever so closer to his end, found himself in the side as England contentiously opted to rest Robinson despite a nine-day break. At Old Trafford, the scrutiny on Anderson seems to have risen after he delivered largely uninspiring 37 overs for just 1 wicket.
Vaughan questions England bringing back Anderson
Speaking on BBC's 'Ashes Daily' Podcast, Vaughan felt England going back to Anderson was a negative move and hurt the side on a surface where pace off the deck was key to extracting late movement and bounce for Wood and one where England perhaps were better of considering young Josh Tongue for his speed.
"We all agreed that James Anderson deserved to have that sentimental pick because he's a legend of the game, but it may have cost England," Vaughan told the BBC's Ashes Daily podcast. "Josh Tongue is a young quick who has created impact in that one game that he has played, and I know the Australians don't like facing him."
"Jimmy, in the three Test matches that he's played in this series, has just had no impact at all. I don't remember him getting a key wicket at any stage and that's very unlike Jimmy Anderson."
Numbers tell of a tale on Anderson's declining output through this series. Perhaps feeling the brunt of surfaces designed to take the sting off tall and quick Aussie pacers with a dukes ball increasingly offering less movement in the air and off the pitch, Anderson is heading into the final Test with four wickets in three matches at an average of 76.75.