1 - Dream debut at Lords: 5 for 73 against Zimbabwe
The Lancastrian realized his dream when he made his Test debut against Zimbabwe at home of cricket, Lord's and went on to gather his first five-wicket haul.
The Zimbabwe team that had experienced a lot of turmoil during the World Cup only a couple of months before. Tatenda Taibu led Zimbabwe but stumbled for just 147, with Anderson clean bowling four of his five scalps.
This was just the start of one of the marathon careers in international cricket.
2 – Recall in the land of Kiwis: 5 for 73 against New Zealand at Wellington in 2008
After a fine beginning to his career, Anderson experienced blended fortunes in the Test team, with a horrible showing in 2007 against Sri Lanka in the first Test prompting him being dropped for the last two games of the series. England allowed Anderson to play club cricket in New Zealand trying to bowl himself into form before their coming tour.
In the wake of losing the first Test by 189 runs, management rang the changes. Some veterans like Matthew Hoggard and Steve Harmison were dropped and were supplanted by Anderson and Stuart Broad. Anderson took a five-for in the first innings, however, he remained calm for the remainder of the tour. However, this was the beginning of a buildup of a pair with Broad; another great English pacer.
3 – Beat the heat: Anderson’s 6 for 27 against India at Kolkata in 2012
While Anderson's ability has never been difficult to spot, it was his power of will that was significantly evident at Eden Gardens as he helped England win their first series in India for 28 years. With traditionally little assistance for the fast bowlers, Anderson gave solid respite to the England spinners and even cracked the formula of bowling some reverse swing as India disintegrated in the second innings.
Lancashire’s genius took three wickets in every inning. The six wickets in Kolkata Test was a proof of his ability and a demonstration of his improvement as a bowler from one who blew hot and cold to an ever-consistent threat, even in the most challenging conditions.
Former Somerset cricketer and sports journalist Vic Mark penned James Anderson’s performance as follows:
“Just when Tendulkar’s reintegration process seemed complete he edged the first ball after the final drinks session to Matt Prior. And the bowler, Anderson, gave us a broad on-field smile for the first time in a while.”
4 – Anderson blew away Aussies with 10 for 158 at Trent Bridge
Trent Bridge has been an upbeat hunting venue for Anderson and with this match on a knife-edge, he struck again by bagging a five-for in each innings and finishing England's triumph by dismissing Brad Haddin when Australia was only 14 runs away from the victory. The Australian wicket-keeper was in great form with in excess of 70 runs to his name when he feathered the most slender of inside edges behind into the joyous gloves of Matt Prior, the wicket being given after a survey to send the English dressing room into delights.
That Trent Bridge test is largely remembered with Ashton Agar's first-innings 98 on debut, however the possible last gasp win by Anderson and co set the pace for the remainder of the series, which England proceeded to win 3-0 to hold the Ashes.
5 – Played 150th test match and got the five against South Africa at Cape Town in 2020
It was just an unbelievable feat for the record holder Englishman. James Anderson was handed over his 150th test cap by his first test captain Nasser Hussain.
Currently, the veteran pacer is the highest wicket-taker among all the fast bowlers in the history of red-ball cricket.
How Cape Town test became one of his special moments?
Firstly, he hung with Ollie Pope for the last wicket partnership which garnered 35 crucial runs. Then he did what brought him to marathon 150 test matches. Initially, he took the prized wicket of Proteas’ skipper Faf Du Plessis and then he wrapped up the South African tail with stellar figures of 5 for 40.
That was his 28th fiver which is most by any English pacer. He surpassed legendary Sir Ian Botham (27) and Sydney Barnes (24).
The way he carried himself since 2003 till now is just exemplary. He negated the lucrative T20 leagues and gave utmost respect to the purest form of cricket. We pay salute to him for his massive achievements in his red-ball career.