• England v India, 5th Test

Jadeja incident helped me, says Anderson

George Dobell at The Oval
August 17, 2014
India were blown away on what became the final day of the series © Associated Press

James Anderson accepted he may have benefited from the increased scrutiny of his on-field behaviour as England wrapped up the Test series with a crushing victory at The Oval.

Anderson was charged with a Level Three offence under the ICC's Code of Conduct following an alleged incident with Ravi Jadeja during the first Test. Although Anderson was subsequently cleared, he conceded that the increased focus may have prompted him to re-assess the way he conducted himself on the pitch.

After bowling as well as at any time of his career in the final three Tests, he ended the series with 25 wickets at an average of 20.60 and was named Man of the Series.

But, while he was insistent he had been no less aggressive with the ball since the Jadeja incident, Anderson did admit he may have been a little less vocal with the batsmen.

"Possibly, in the last few games, I have concentrated more on being aggressive with the ball rather than my mouth," Anderson said. "I think I tried to be as aggressive. Whether I tried to say any less, I don't know. But I think the Jadeja incident made me more determined to perform on the field.

"At Southampton, when the stuff was going on around before and after the game, we were so focused on winning that game, and since then we've not let India back into the series."

But Anderson remained adamant that the aggressive on-field persona that has become familiar over recent years was a key part of his success. Anderson finished the match, his 99th Test, with 380 Test wickets. Only Sir Ian Botham, who claimed 383, has taken more for England.

"The reason I struggled, I think, in the early part of my career is because I was the timid, shy character that I am off the field when I was on it," he said. "That didn't help me. And working with people to try to get the best out of me, we found that it was best if I tried to be aggressive.

"What's helped me in the last five or six years is the fact I've been aggressive on the field and had the odd word. I've tried not to cross the line. And that's why the umpires are there to monitor that."

Anderson's performance helped turn around England's summer after defeat to Sri Lanka and then losing the Lord's Test to trail India 1-0. Alastair Cook admitted the overwhelming nature of the way England reversed their form was beyond his wildest expectations.

It took England less than 30 overs to blow the visitors away for a final time, removing them for 94 on the third afternoon at The Oval, after they batted aggressively at the start of the day. The pace quartet of Anderson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes and Chris Jordan was too much for a shell-shocked India side who have barely won a session since taking a 1-0 series at Lord's.

While Cook had always backed his team's ability to turn the tables, when asked if he envisaged such convincing victories - by 266 runs, an innings at 54 runs and now an innings and 244 runs - Cook said: "No, not like we have done in the last two games. Before we won at Southampton we played cricket in patches then let it go in an hour or so, so to maintain the pressure on India like we have in the last three games, that last hour showed when India crumbled but that was because of relentless pressure.

"It is an amazing turnaround, after Lord's to have won like we have in the last three games, the guys can take a huge amount of credit and the new coaching staff."

In the build-up to the final Test, Cook admitted he started to question his role as captain after the loss to Sri Lanka earlier this season and once again acknowledged the support from those around him when his position was doubted earlier in this series.

"It's great to have the support of the guys in the tough times and then the good times like now make it all worthwhile," he said. "That's what sport can do to you. You can have your tough times and it's the character you need to bounce back. We have to enjoy tonight and then look at the reasons why we went from playing how we were to playing good cricket."

Joe Root, who finished unbeaten on 149 on the third morning to complete an outstanding Test season which included three hundreds, lauded the team effort to change the course of the series.

"It's always nice to score runs and you want to score as many as you can, but to finish like we did today was really pleasing. We've had to show a lot of character since Lord's and dig deep. It's nice to score runs and win again."

George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo

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