The whole build up to this England-India Test series was about it being another chapter in the tussle between James Anderson and Virat Kohli and if Edgbaston is anything to go by, we're up for a riveting few pages in the coming weeks.
Anderson absolutely bossed a young talented batsman four years earlier and left him searching for answers to the daemons he got befuddled with. Virat Kohli is now four years wiser and James Anderson is 36 years old, things are different, the competition is more leveled and it was perfectly exemplified in Birmingham. The duel as fierce as it is, isn't short of respect as well.
In his column for The Sun, Anderson talked about this rivalry and wrote, "I guess that’s top-of-the-range stuff and I certainly loved the battle with him at Edgbaston. I felt good bowling to Virat and my plans worked well. I might have dismissed him a few times with some plays and misses plus a dropped catch."
"I’ve been told only 17 of his 149 runs in the first innings came off my bowling. But the fact is, I didn’t get him out and he scored a century and a half-century. So I’m not getting carried away! In fact, it makes me even more determined to be on top form in the Second Test at Lord’s."
Anderson threw everything that he can at Virat in Birmingham. He didn't win the battle but didn't lose it either. It's the same with Virat, who didn't excel facing the opposition's best bowler but he ensured he stayed to weather the storm for his team and went onto win the bigger battle, the one with himself. Virat left Anderson 26 times in that 43 ball tussle in the first innings and went onto score some of Test Cricket's grittiest 149 runs.
"I’ll look at some videos to see if I can do anything different. But, generally, I think all our bowlers were good against Kohli.Before he went into one-day mode while batting with the tail, we kept him in check.", wrote the determined Anderson and further expressed, "And we were successful against the other Indian batsman. Aside from Kohli, the top score by India was 31 by Hardik Pandya in their second innings."
"Kohli was taking guard out of his crease but a lot of batsmen do that against me, especially in England, to try to counteract the swing. It happens in county cricket, too. It’s not as though Kohli was two feet down the pitch, it was about six inches. Like I say, I was happy with the way I bowled and I’ll check to see if there is anything I can improve at Lord’s."
Giving insight into their relationship, Anderson added, "The game was played in a good spirit and there’s a lot of respect both ways between myself and Virat. There was the odd smile when I bowled a good ball and the odd smile from him."
"I gave him a couple of freebies on his legs that he clipped for four and he said something like ‘That’s not like you, giving me freebies!’ It was teasing, really, leg-pulling. All in good spirit. A lot of teams see Lord’s as a special place and up their games to try to get their names on the honours’ board. So we’ll have to raise our game, too."