(ESPNcricinfo) James Anderson has apologised to both umpires for behaviour he admits was “petulant” and “unacceptable” on the second day of the third Investec Test at Edgbaston.
Anderson, England’s record wicket-taker, clashed with umpire Bruce Oxenford after he was warned about running on the pitch after delivering the ball. Anderson received two official warnings meaning that, if he encroaches on the area again during Pakistan’s first innings, the umpires can withdraw him from the attack for the rest of the innings.
It was a frustrating day for Anderson. As well as struggling to gain much assistance from a sluggish Edgbaston surface, he saw Joe Root, at second slip, put down Azhar Ali off his bowling when he had scored 38. Azhar went on to make a century as Pakistan reached stumps just 40 runs behind with seven wickets in hand.
When Oxenford, who had been prompted to warn Anderson by the intervention of the TV umpire Kumar Dharmasena, repeatedly asked him to move away from the pitch in the immediate aftermath of delivery, Anderson appeared to remonstrate angrily.
But, having seen a replay of himself remonstrating with Oxenford, Anderson accepted that such factors were no excuse and concluded that he had over-stepped the mark and took the decision to apologise.
“It was a frustrating day,” Anderson said. “I had a bad half-hour where I let things get to me. I’ve apologised to both umpires as my behaviour wasn’t acceptable. It was a bit petulant.
“I wasn’t convinced that I had [run on the pitch], but Bruce had the third or fourth umpire in his ear telling him I was.
“Having seen my reactions on TV, it doesn’t look great when I’m pointing at the pitch. I don’t necessarily think it was what I said, it was just the way I behaved. I had a bad half-hour, I’ve apologised and hopefully that will be the end of it.”
It is not the first time Anderson has succumbed to bouts of petulance. He was, for a long time, a persistent sledger of opposition batsmen and infamously clashed with Ravindra Jadeja during the 2014 Trent Bridge Test. Since that incident, however, he has appeared to rein in that side of his character but admitted he struggles to balance the “competitive edge” he feels he requires to succeed at this level with the standards of behaviour expected of an international player.
“That competitive edge has helped me throughout my career,” Anderson said. “I know there are times I can get close to that line. I try to control it, but I don’t want to lose that competitive edge. It’s a balancing act.
“The dropped catch probably added to the frustration, but you have to try and deal with things like that. There are going to be times when catches go down. There are going to be times when the opposition plays well, as they did today. They played really well.
“The pitch has lost some pace. It didn’t have the zip it had on the first day. But we did a good job. We created chances and if that catch had stuck, who knows what might have happened. There was some good bowling and some average batting that got us into this situation.
“Today I thought we bowled reasonably well. But we could have bowled slightly better. We had chances and we didn’t take them. At this level you get punished if you don’t take your chances.”
Anderson will hope that his apology will appease the officials. But it will be no surprise if match referee Richie Richardson cites him for dissent.
George Dobell is a senior correspondent at ESPNcricinfo