For so long the foundation upon whom England built their Test success, the previously untouchable Jimmy Anderson is beginning to show cracks.
For the first time in 64 Tests, and first ever at his traditional hunting ground Lord’s, England’s leading wicket-taker in both Tests and one-day matches failed to grab a single scalp in either innings of the second Ashes Test.
Anderson is the leading wicket-taker in Lord’s history with 75, including four five-wicket hauls, and it is comfortably his most productive ground.
But this week he looked nothing like the master of the Dukes ball, whose ability to swing it both ways has tormented Australia in previous Ashes tours and earned him 406 Test wickets.
He was saved the ignominy of racking up a humiliating century in the first innings, pulled from the attack by Alastair Cook with figures of 0/99 as Australia battered him on their way to 8(dec)-566.
He fared no better in the second dig, taking 0-38 in one of the least effective displays of his career.
One of the few chances he created came from the first ball of the day, when Chris Rogers edged him over the slips for four on his way to a career-best 173.
“Like anyone, they probably didn’t come out as well as he would have liked on day one,” England coach Trevor Bayliss said.
“Batters and bowlers have those types of days.
“Might have been a completely different story if that edge from Rogers in the first over went to hand.
“Who knows? There’s no point contemplating that.”
Anderson’s woes were limited to his lack of penetration into the Australian defences.
He has also come under fire for repeatedly running down the centre of the wicket, which prompted a ‘please explain’ from umpire Marais Erasmus, but fell short of demanding an official warning, like the one he received in Cardiff.
Despite the role spinners are expected to play in this series on slow wickets, Bayliss insisted Anderson was not being instructed to run down the pitch after bowling, a tactic that is outlawed because it creates footmarks for spinners to bowl at.
“He’s not doing it on purpose that’s for sure,” Bayliss argued.
“He had a bit of a problem with it in Cardiff, but to be honest he hasn’t mentioned it in the changeroom and nobody else has either.
“He’s not the first guy to run on a wicket and won’t be the last I’m sure.”