James Anderson has known many great days in his career, but by his own admission, England’s nine-wicket defeat of Windies on Saturday (September 9) would live him with “for a long time” after taking 500 Test wickets.
Having become the first England bowler, and just the sixth in history, to reach the landmark figure on Friday, Anderson, 35, carried on to post Test-best figures of 7 for 42 on Saturday as Windies were dismissed for 177 in their second innings. That left England with a target of just 107 for a 2-1 series victory and they duly knocked off the runs in 28 overs to win with more than two days to spare.
“Playing a Test match here at Lord’s is always special, but this week will live with me for a long time,” Anderson told Sky Sports. “I didn’t think I’d play anywhere near as much for England. My family have been here, my friends have been here, and to share the moment with guys I’ve played over 100 Tests with as well is extra special.”
Anderson, who made his Test debut at Lord’s back in 2003, needed just four balls on Saturday to take his third wicket of the innings after a double strike on the second day. He then claimed two wickets in three balls after lunch, including the key scalp of Shai Hope for 62 as Windies’ man of the series was caught behind off an excellent leg-cutter. The double success started a collapse that saw the visitors lose their last four wickets for just 22 runs.
“Jimmy’s performance speaks for itself,” said Joe Root, the England captain. “To be able to hold a length and put guys under pressure is a great skill. He’s a massive part of our dressing room and I’m sure he will be for a long time to come.”
Once Anderson had bowled Kemar Roach to wrap up Windies’ second innings, it was just a question of what margin England would win by and how quickly they would do it.
Alastair Cook’s exit, lbw for 17 to Devendra Bishoo’s first ball of the innings, denied England a 10-wicket success. But Mark Stoneman (40 not out) and Tom Westley (44 not out), the under pressure top-order batsmen, saw England to their target without any further hiccups.
Victory meant Root has won both his first two Test series as England captain after the 3-1 success against South Africa earlier in the season.
“I’m very pleased,” Root told BBC Radio’s Test Match Special after what was England’s last Test before they begin their Ashes defence against Australia in Brisbane in November. “In the second innings Jimmy was outstanding. The ball looked out of shape, I don’t know how he managed to get seven wickets with it.”
For Windies, the huge consolation of the series was the way they bounced back from an innings defeat in the opener at Edgbaston to draw level days later with a five-wicket win in the second Test at Headingley. That was just their fourth away victory, excluding matches against Bangladesh and Zimbabwe, in 88 Tests. It was built on the twin hundreds from Hope, and the 23-year-old Barbados batsman appeared to have come of age during this series.
“In the second innings we didn’t bat as well as we would have liked,” said Jason Holder, the Windies captain. “But Shai Hope batted extremely well and we have a lot of positives to take.
“I’m really proud of the guys. I’ve seen a lot of fight, which I haven’t seen for a long time. In recent series, we’ve won games away from home and we’ve really competed. We’re not too far away from clinching a series win.”
Holder also had words of praise for Anderson for reaching his milestone. “Credit must go to James Anderson,” he said. “He is a world-class bowler and I’d like to congratulate him on 500 wickets, but I want to urge our guys to keep going.”