Antigua and Barbuda: James Anderson became England's leading wicket-taker in Test history but celebration of the historic milestone could not be complemented by a team triumph as the West Indies hung on for a draw on the final day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Wednesday.
James Anderson (right) is greeted by Ian Botham after the England pacer surpassed his record to become the country's highest wicket-taker. Pics/AFP
Jason Holder played the innings of his young cricketing life to take the home side to safety with three wickets in hand at 350 for seven after they were set the improbable target of 438. His maiden Test hundred of 103 not out, which spanned almost four hours during which he faced 149 deliveries and struck 15 fours, rescued the Caribbean team from what appeared to be a hopeless position when they slipped to 189 for six early in the afternoon session.
His calm, controlled batting was the perfect foil to Denesh Ramdin's growing defiance, the pair putting on 105 runs for the seventh wicket when Anderson broke the record and gave his team one last chance to push for victory heading into the final hour of the match. "It was just a matter of staying out there and basically having a knock," said Holder, who was chosen as man of the match. "The word we've been using as motivation in our dressing room is 'belief.'"
James Holder celebrates his century on the final day of the first Tes
Having drawn level with the record tally of 383 wickets by former all-rounder Sir Ian Botham when he dismissed Marlon Samuels in the morning, Anderson returned with the second new ball and finally separated Ramdin and Holder, inducing an indeterminate defensive prod from Ramdin to have the West Indies captain caught for 57 by his England counterpart, Alastair Cook, at first slip.
Anderson greeted the historic moment with a combination of celebration and relief at claiming the coveted record in his 100th Test, although England's focus reverted swiftly to getting back to the business of claiming the last three wickets.