Jimmy Anderson wicket celebration analysis: Pujara 4 v Kohli 0

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James Anderson took two wickets in his 11th over of the first Test: Cheteshwar Pujara for 4 and Virat Kohli for 0. Both are great and significant batsmen and if our maths is correct – and no guarantees on this one, people – there is only a four-run difference between those two scores. Yet the two wickets were celebrated rather differently.

We know what you’re immediately thinking. You’re thinking this is a Virat Kohli thing. And to a great extent, you’re correct.

Virat Kohli is a very passionate cricketer. He is also a man who is not averse to a bit of friction with the opposition. Throw in the fact that he’s India’s captain and the upshot is that bowlers tend to experience just a little bit more joy when they dismiss him.

But it is not just that. Because these reactions are VERY different.

Here’s Jimmy Anderson after he got Pujara out.

You’re wondering if we’ve got the right moment there, but honestly, we have.

Jimmy Anderson celebrated dismissing India’s number three by looking like a man who’s just walked out of his house and closed his front door behind him only to immediately wonder, “Wait, did I actually remember to pick up my keys?”

That is quite a weird wicket celebration and definitely not a big one.

Now here’s Anderson after he got Kohli out.

So basically almost in tears, wailing with delight.

It was really full-on. In fact it’s worth including another shot from quarter of a second later to underline that.

‘Why God, why? Why have you blessed me with this unbearable level of emotion?’

To be completely clear, this happened exactly one ball and around two minutes later.

So, a question…

What’s the most significant element underpinning this contrast?

  • James Anderson?
  • Virat Kohli?
  • Cheteshwar Pujara?
  • Context?

For sure, it’s all of them (and it’s interesting to think about what that says about Pujara), but context is the one we haven’t yet mentioned.

A wicket is always a surprise. It is a jolt of adrenaline for the bowler that takes them from weary to elated in an instant. But there is only so far you can go.

Okay, Jimmy only went from grumpy-weary to, placid-weary for the Pujara wicket and that is not much of a leap at all, but we’re pretty sure it would not be possible for a man of his age and seen-it-all-beforeness to go from grumpy-weary to quasi-religious delirium in the space of one delivery.

To get that second state, he needed a teaser. Pujara was that teaser.

With his senses heightened and a few beats-per-minute added to his heart-rate, Jimmy experienced a near-immediate supplementary jolt with the Kohli dismissal. He was primed this time and the impact was therefore enormous.

This is why what precedes a wicket is so important.

This is why hat-tricks are so great.

This wasn’t even a hat-trick. But it was Virat Kohli.

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  1. It’s definitely the context/cumulative effect.

    One wicket is ‘maybe we’ll limit them to a 100 run lead, that wouldn’t be too bad’, the second is ‘maybe they will collapse now and the game is still possible to win’.

    Or perhaps it’s like pints of beer – the first one hadn’t really hit him until he was well into the second?

  2. I like how insulting (unintentionally? intentionally?) the apparent nonchalance was to Pujara.

    Kinda wish the two reactions were swapped to put Kohli on the receiving end of the insult, mostly because it would have been funny, though there’s a risk it might have fired him up…

    1. It’s actually more insulting with hindsight because at the time we didn’t know what was to follow.

  3. Is it possible that Jimmy was not 100% sure that he’d got his man in the Pujara case? There was quite a bit of too-ing and fro-ing about whether or not it carried and whether or not it was a nick before the actual finger raise.

    Sorry if I am spoiling a good story with less entertaining possibilities.

    I was irritatingly engaged on work stuff yesterday until long after the rain had arrived. I do hope to follow some of the cricket live this (Friday) afternoon.

    Hoping that KC’s predicted run-fest starts with England’s second innings and not the remainder of the current Indian one.

    1. That’s looking one of the more outlandish predictions.

      Think there was a touch of enthusiasm dissipation as he mentally ticked off all the possible ways it might not have been the wicket, but he seemed pretty sure overall.

  4. Why wouldn’t you listen to your keeper when you refer caught behind decisions to the third umpire?

  5. The things I most liked about this test match: Shaun Pollock’s facial expression when Sunil Gavaskar handed him Indian sweets celebrating the olympic gold medal an Indian athlete won. Pollock’s expression was priceless. Really, it was.

      1. It’s difficult to describe, but it was “Oh no, please not this now. It reminds me of that really unpleasant thing from high school” kind of face. I wish someone captured it, but I couldn’t find any clip. But I do have Shaun “savouring” the aftertaste:


      2. He looks like he’s ingested poison but doesn’t want anyone to know that the substance in question is lethally poisonous to him because doing so will somehow mean losing something greater than his life.

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