An inconsistent performer in the early years of his international career, Anderson has blossomed into a hugely effective new-ball bowler and the undisputed leader of England's Test attack.
His mastery of swing and seam has made him a particularly potent threat on home soil, while his improvement on less helpful surfaces was illustrated in the 2010-11 Ashes when he finished as the leading wicket-taker on either side with 24 scalps at an average of 26.
Anderson initially burst onto the world scene at the age of 20 as a raw and exciting paceman.
Called into England's one-day squad for the triangular series in Australia, having started the year playing for Burnley in the Lancashire League, he made a positive impression with 11 wickets in his first six outings and outstanding figures of 1-12 from 10 overs in his next appearance against the host nation.
He enjoyed further success in the subsequent World Cup, producing a man-of-the-match display versus Pakistan, and then picked up a five-wicket haul against Zimbabwe on Test debut at Lord's.
Anderson took a hat-trick versus Pakistan at The Oval in the NatWest Series, and helped England to a 4-0 Test series whitewash over West Indies the following summer.
However, he was unable to maintain a regular place in England's team and a stress fracture of the back further hampered his progress in 2006.
It was not until the following year that the Lancashire seamer started to truly make his mark, establishing himself as a regular in all forms of the game.
He excelled against New Zealand and South Africa in the summer of 2008 and returned Test-best figures of 7-43 against the former at Trent Bridge.
Anderson received a further boost when he was named as one of Wisden's cricketers of the year for 2009.
When West Indies toured England later in the year, he maintained his impressive form - returning match figures of 9-125 in the second Test at Chester-le-Street.
As well as being a key member of England's attack during their 2-1 Ashes triumph, his batting proved crucial in salvaging a draw in the opener at Cardiff.
A further 16 wickets followed on the four-Test tour of South Africa and he also made an impact in the one-dayers, picking up 5-23 in a seven-wicket victory at Port Elizabeth that clinched a 2-1 series win.
Anderson continued to lead England's attack with distinction in 2010 and claimed match figures of 11-71 - the best of his career to date - to inspire his side to a thumping victory over Pakistan in the first Test at Trent Bridge.
Yet few could have predicted he would make such a stunning impact Down Under that winter as England stormed to their first Ashes victory in Australia for 24 years.
Having attained new levels of consistency, he enjoyed another excellent year in 2011 with 35 Test wickets at 25.
Despite England's indifferent start to 2012 against Pakistan and Sri Lanka, Anderson continued to spearhead the bowling attack with 18 scalps in five Tests and remained a regular wicket-taker that summer.
A return to the sub-continent earned further reward with the Lancastrian turning in some impressive displays as England claimed their first Test series win in India for 28 years.
Typically consistent performances followed in back-to-back series against New Zealand before Anderson further showed his class with a 10-wicket display as England edged a tense first Ashes Test at Trent Bridge that ultimately set up a 3-0 series triumph.