Antigua: James Anderson equalled Sir Ian Botham as England’s top Test wicket-taker, taking his 383rd scalp as England pushed towards victory in the first Test against West Indies in Antigua, at the time of going to press.
James Anderson celebrates after equalling Ian Botham’s record of 383 wickets against West Indies yesterday. PIC/Getty Images
Anderson celebrated his 100th cap by joining Botham in the history books, and reacted with joy and relief as Marlon Samuels was held by James Tredwell at gully.
The great all-rounder has stood alone as the nation's most prolific bowler for 23 years, but Anderson is now in position to set a new mark for future generations to follow.
Only 13 players in the history of the game have taken more wickets than 32-year-old Anderson, and only nine seamers.
Chanderpaul foxedElsewhere on the final day, there were wickets for off-spinners Tredwell and Joe Root, the latter accounting for key man Shivnarine Chanderpaul, as West Indies slipped to 162 for five at lunch. The tourists, who posted a target of 438 on day four, went in as overwhelming favourites to take a 1-0 series lead. Devon Smith and Samuels saw off 12 overs at the start of the day, including five maidens from the first six, before Smith had a meltdown.
He aimed an ugly hack at Tredwell but got a weak connection that sailed to mid-on. Anderson’s milestone moment came from the second ball of his fourth over, a full delivery outside off that had Samuels driving away from his body. He managed only to spray a low catch to Tredwell, who gathered it safely on the drive.
Anderson responded with an outburst of emotion, bellowing in delight as his teammates raced to share the moment. It was Anderson's third success of the match, following two wickets in the first innings.
But Anderson would surely have loved to make Chanderpaul, the seventh highest run scorer in Test history, number 384. Captain Alastair Cook allowed his lead seamer three more overs to complete a spell of seven, but an ambitious lbw appeal against Jermaine Blackwood was the closest he came to another success.