Jimmy Anderson became the first fast bowler to reach 600 Test wickets. The England paceman had Azhar Ali caught at slip to reach the historic milestone.
It was an anxious wait for Anderson as he was stuck on 599 wickets, with the weather possibly ruining his chances. But the outfield dried out and at 4.36 pm at the Ageas Bowl on Tuesday, history was made.
This is some feat for Anderson who is now the fourth leading wicket taker in Test match history. Only four players are above him- with all four being slow bowlers.
Outstanding feat for a quick bowler
Muttiah Muralitharan(800), Shane Warne(708) and Anil Kumble(619) lead the way with Anderson within touching distance of Kumble.
What makes this record even more remarkable is the four above him aren’t quick bowlers. When it comes to injuries the quicker bowlers will normally break down more often.
So, this in terms of cricket history is some mean feat and goes to prove why Anderson is England’s most potent weapon.
The Anderson Bowling machine keeps on delivering
Anderson has bowled more than 33,000 balls for England in first class cricket. Not bad for a 38-year-old lad from Burnley who started playing for Lancashire in 2002.
Anderson has succeeded in Asia like no other England pace bowler after excelling In India in 2012. The Burnley paceman has taken almost two thirds of his test wickets at home.
When he made his debut for England back in 2003, few would have imagined how much England have relied on him.
First Test scalp back in 2003 for Anderson
His first scalp was against Zimbabwe at Lords in 2003, with Mark Vermeulen of Zimbabwe his first victim.
One hundred and fifty five test matches later he is still going strong. You bet his aching body must be taking its toll even now. But he insists he wants to keep playing for another few years.
He will be a vital piece of the England jigsaw when they tour in the winter at some point. With next years Ashes uppermost in the selectors minds they know that Anderson will be first name on that squad list.
Jimmy edging closer towards Cook’s 161
Quick bowlers are not meant to play over 150 test matches, with Anderson only five away from Alastair Cook who played 161.
Interestingly, it took 28 matches to get from 500 to 600 back in 2017. His two wickets required to get him over the line were his first taken in a second innings this summer.
In the past year he has suffered a calf injury which kept him out for almost all of the 2019 Ashes. A rib fracture at the start of the year in South Africa started sending out signs of his imminent retirement.
However, with lockdown and plenty of rest to rejuvenate his body you always knew he would be back. However, there were some doubters in the cricket world who though that he wouldn’t.
Between the first and second test of the Pakistan series he admitted to some mental anguish. Just a single wicket from his 29 overs sent out alarm bells for some.
Was this the time that he would be announcing a sudden retirement. On the Monday of the test he made a scheduled media appearance to rubbish these comments.
Since then he has come back a hungrier man by taking ten wickets including a 29th five-wicket haul.
Could the next target of 700 really be on?
Is 700 wickets really possible for the man from Burnley after all, he can’t go on forever can he. He is at an age when many other sports men and women have given up the game.
A family man who is generally a quiet character will possibly one day go in to coaching.
Until then let’s keep enjoying the wonderful sight of yet another Anderson wicket. Hopefully at some point fans will be allowed back into grounds to see the boy from Burnley once again.
Would be wonderful to see him terrorising the Aussies in the Ashes next year. On course for 700 wickets, now wouldn’t that be some achievement from the much loved Lancastrian.