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'If we were bowling at our batsmen, we'd have the better of them too' - James Anderson

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'So much fun' bowling in those conditions - Anderson (1:35)

James Anderson praised the collective effort of the England attack after they dismantled India at Lord's (1:35)

Age is just a number, but rather like his bowling stats, James Anderson keeps ratcheting his figures up to ever more daunting levels. "I've just turned 36, mate!" he protested when one journalist mistakenly added an extra year to his tally, but it's harder still to keep tabs on the wickets column.

Anderson's final figures of 5 for 20 in 13.2 overs, harvested under brooding and occasionally demented skies, were a display of minimalist wizardry that evoked Sir Richard Hadlee in the final years of a career that he surely could have extended into a fifth decade had he felt sufficient hunger.

Like Hadlee in those latter years, Anderson has become the master craftsman, capable now of perhaps longer spells than any previous stage of his career, due to a precised run-up that dispenses with any fripperies, and a confidence in his own methods so absolute that he believes he would have had the measure of any line-up in the world today, including his own team-mates.

"I think that if we bowled like that today, with those conditions, we'd bowl most teams in the world out - because I think we were that good," Anderson said.

"We hardly bowled any bad balls, we didn't give them much to hit at all - and when you build pressure like that all day, no matter who you are around the world, it is difficult.

"I think if we were bowling at our batsmen, we'd have the better of them [too]. We exploit those conditions as well as anyone in the world. I don't think it's just the Indian batsmen that would have struggled."

But on this occasion, they most certainly did. Anderson's Indian scalps comprised two at the top, as India's openers were bent from the crease like a claw-hammer evicting a pair of rusty old nails, and three at the bottom, as Ajinkya Rahane and the tail followed meekly in the final half-hour of an absurdly elongated day.

And by the end of it all, he had booked his place on the Lord's honours board for the sixth time in 23 appearances - leaving just two shy of the overall record of eight, held by another cricketing knight, Sir Ian Botham, whom he also trails by 26 to 27 in England's overall five-wickets tally. He will go into the second innings with 99 scalps at this ground alone, and 549 in 140 Tests all told. No wonder people can't keep tabs.

"I don't think about numbers or my age, I feel like … I won't say 28, but 32?" he said. "I don't feel old, I feel like I can still throw myself around in the field as well as anyone else, so as long as I feel like that, I'm just going to keep playing as long as possible. Hopefully the wickets will keep coming as well and I can help this team keep winning."

If Anderson gets presented with many more days like this, he's unlikely to be denied either of those aims. After England's early-season hiccup against Pakistan, Joe Root shelved the bravado after winning his second toss of the summer at Lord's, rightly recognising that an extra day under the covers made bowling first a no-brainer. But even a man with Anderson's experience was surprised by the assistance he was offered.

"Honestly, I'd have been so disappointed if I'd messed up today because they were the ideal conditions to bowl in," he said. "The rain yesterday certainly made the decision for us at the toss but we didn't think it'd do that much. It looked a good pitch, dry with a bit of green grass on top, but not too much. It wasn't particularly warm, but warm enough, and that moisture that's in the ground just helped it move around.

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1:35

'So much fun' bowling in those conditions - Anderson

James Anderson praised the collective effort of the England attack after they dismantled India at Lord's

"Some days it hoops round - they've been quite rare actually - but for us, with the experience we've had of bowling on flat decks and the ball doing nothing, when you get the opportunity like that you lick your lips and try to show off your skills.

"I find it so much fun when it's like that. You don't often get conditions like that in England anymore, when the ball does that much through the air and off the pitch - the biggest thing is not trying to do too much, do too many different things. You just keep your focus, try and bowl good balls and keep hoping they nick them eventually."

Rahane was one of those who eventually obliged - caught at first slip for 18 after surviving an earlier drop by Root at fourth - and afterwards he admitted that, with the combination of the Dukes ball, the weather and Anderson's mastery (ably backed up by a resurgent Chris Woakes), India had just faced the most challenging conditions for batting that they could encounter.

"He didn't bowl one short ball," said Rahane. "He was just bowling there and there - a four-five metre length. And that is really crucial on this wicket. If you're bowling that length, you got to bowl consistently, then as a batsman you have to leave the ball or you've got to back your methods consistently. If you play three maiden overs, you've got to be ready to play another three maiden overs after that. It's all about patience in these conditions and trusting your methods and backing your ability."

Anderson never wavered on that front. "We kept the pressure on and we didn't let them get away all day," he said. "That's a really good sign for us as a team. You can't build momentum with the rain around, but we came back really well at the end of the day."

If there was one slight regret for Anderson, it was that Virat Kohli eluded him for the third innings in a row. It was Woakes who landed the big fish in the end, caught by Jos Buttler for 23 at second slip, one ball after edging a similar delivery to the same man, but in the course of a 30-ball duel from which Kohli was able to take just 13 cautiously compiled runs, Anderson was once again able to relish a battle that is becoming one of the unmissable match-ups of the summer.

Twice he beat Kohli on the drive as he was lured into playing his trademark outswinger - vindication perhaps for his comments at the end of the last India tour in 2016, when, after Kohli's hefty haul of 655 runs in the series, he insisted that the balance of power would shift when the conditions were back in his favour.

"I was thinking why can't he edge them like everyone else?" he said. "I've really enjoyed the contest between myself and him. He's No. 1 in the world for a reason.

"For me, I love playing against the best players in the world, testing yourself and seeing whether you can get the better of them. It's a really thrilling thing to be a part of and unfortunately I've not got the better of him yet, but I'll continue to try my hardest throughout the rest of the series.

"Kohli's important because he's captain, a leader and he's their best player - No.1 in the world. But 90 percent of their top seven have scored runs against us in the past, so we can't look just as Kohli as a big wicket.

"All I think about is getting my body in as good a condition as it can be to cope with bowling out in the middle. I was delighted with how many overs I bowled at Edgbaston. For my body to get through that at this age I'm really happy with. I think I means I'm doing the right stuff off the field."