Anderson gets to 600 wickets, England clinch Test series - GulfToday

Anderson gets to 600 wickets, England clinch Test series


James Anderson celebrates the wicket of Pakistan's Azhar Ali and his 600th test wicket with teammates. Reuters

England paceman James Anderson became the first fast bowler to reach 600 wickets in Test cricket before the third and final test against Pakistan finished as a draw on Tuesday, leaving the home side to celebrate a second series victory of the pandemic-disrupted summer.

Less than two hours of cricket were played on a rain-affected Day 5, with England taking just two of the eight wickets needed to win the match at the Rose Bowl after Pakistan resumed on 100-2 and trailing by 210 runs.

The big consolation was Anderson took one of them, removing Pakistan captain Azhar Ali to join retired spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble in the "600 club” in Tests.

England won the series 1-0, with its three-wicket victory in the first test in Manchester followed by two drawn tests in Southampton. It was a first series triumph over Pakistan since 2010 and a second of the summer after beating the West Indies 2-1.

Pakistan was 187-4 when the teams settled on a draw, with 27.1 overs bowled on Tuesday. Babar Azam was 63 not out. The first two sessions were washed out because of heavy overnight rain and a subsequent drenched outfield.

After England captain Joe Root took a high catch at first slip off Azhar to give Anderson his prized wicket on his 14th delivery of the day, the 38-year-old fast bowler was mobbed by his teammates.

Then Anderson took the ball in his right hand and - with a cheeky smile - saluted all sides of the Rose Bowl, which is without spectators because of coronavirus restrictions. England coach Chris Silverwood applauded on the boundary edge.

Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619) remain above Anderson on the all-time list of wicket-takers.

Meanwhile, bowling greats Anil Kumble and Shane Warne welcomed Anderson to the elite group of players who have taken 600 Test wickets as tributes to the England star poured in from around the cricketing world on Tuesday.

Anderson become the first fast bowler to reach the landmark when he had Pakistan's Azhar Ali caught by Joe Root on the final day of the third Test at Southampton.

He joins a trio of retired spinners -- Sri Lanka's Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australia's Warne (708) and India's Kumble (619).

"Congratulations @jimmy9 on your 600 wickets! Massive effort from a great fast bowler. Welcome to the club," Kumble tweeted.

Former Australia leg-spinner Warne said it was a "proud moment" for the England bowler.

"It's an outstanding achievement from Jimmy Anderson, and his longevity, and he should be extremely proud of what he has just done -- 156 Test matches is a lot of games," he said on Sky Sports.

Anderson's achievement has been 17 years and 156 appearances in the making, a journey that started when he dismissed Zimbabwe's Mark Vermeulen in 2003.

England paceman Stuart Broad, who has long been Anderson's strike partner, hailed his team-mate's longevity.

"You can't really put it into words, it's just phenomenal," Broad told the BBC.

"He has got better with age and is someone who has inspired me throughout my career, watching him.

"The last five years in particular, since leaving South Africa in 2016, he's just gone from strength to strength. He's a role model to follow for every English cricketer and young cricketer coming through."

Former Australia star Glenn McGrath has the second-most Test wickets by a fast bowler, with 563.

Hailing Anderson's landmark, McGrath told the BBC: "Absolutely incredible, I'm a big fan of Jimmy's. Just the fact he's still playing now, in his 156th Test match, which in itself is just incredible.

"The rigours, the stresses that fast bowlers put on their body day in day out, to turn around and front up and just work your backside off is just absolutely incredible.

"Looking through my career, the two that really stand out skill-wise is Jimmy and Wasim Akram. What they can do with the ball, to swing it both ways, it's a real art form."

Andrew Strauss, a former England captain and ex-teammate of Anderson's, told Sky Sports: "You look at that career, you look at that achievement and it is just extraordinary.

"James Anderson, himself, wouldn't believe it if you had said that a few years ago you would get to 600 Test wickets, you would play 156 Test matches and get 29 five-wicket hauls.

"There is still plenty of life in the old dog yet. It doesn't look like he is going anywhere. A great moment for him."


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