James Anderson became the very first fast bowler to reach the milestone of 600 Test wickets on day five of the final Test between England and Pakistan on Monday.
With rain disrupting matters at Southampton once again – and a result all but impossible – the attention turned to Anderson, who was on 599 scalps when the day began.
After a lengthy delay and multiple pitch inspections by the umpires, play finally got under way at 4pm with Pakistan on 100-2 in their follow-on innings.
And, after the visitors added only nine runs to their overnight score, Anderson rewrote the history books by becoming only the fourth player ever to take 600 Test wickets as he dismissed Azar Ali, who was caught by Joe Root for 31.
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As play drew to a close, Root decided to have a bowl himself and was rewarded with the wicket of Asad Shafiq – caught by substitute fielder JR Bracey.
In the end the umpires called it a day as Pakistan ended on 187-4 with the honours shared between the two nations.
England, however, subsequently clinched the series 1-0 after winning the opening Test in Manchester two weeks ago.
Dom Sibley was named man of the match for his outstanding 267 in England’s first innings, while wicketkeeper Jos Buttler walked away with the Player of the Series award.
Post-match, however, all the focus was on Anderson, who reiterated that he is far from done and have set a number of new goals to reach in red-ball cricket.
‘As long as I still feel like that I think I’ll keep going. I don’t think I’ve won my last Test matches as an England cricketer yet.
‘Can I reach 700? Why not?’ Anderson said.
It was England’s second series win of the summer after Root’s men beat the West Indies more than a month ago in the first international cricket following the Covid-19 pandemic suspension.
And, Anderson believes the England team are in a good space to kick on with their current form and build towards next year’s Ashes in Australia.
‘We’re still in the Test championship,’ Anderson said. ‘There are still series ahead of us and Test matches to win. That’s all I’m really interested in.
‘I still love turning up every day at training, putting in the hard yards and being in the dressing room with the lads trying to forge a win for England. That’s all I’ve really ever bothered about and what I’ll keep trying to do. I’ll keep working hard in the gym and keeping myself available for selection.’