James Anderson joins Test cricket’s 600 wickets club – now he’s aiming for 700

It was fitting that on the final day of England’s summer Test schedule Jimmy Anderson would achieve a cricketing milestone: his 600th Test wicket.

With his 14th ball of a rain-delayed fifth day at the Ageas Bowl, fast bowler Anderson had Pakistan’s Azhar Ali caught at first slip by captain Joe Root. England had to settle for a draw but won the series 1-0.  

Anderson’s achievement means he becomes the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets and is fourth on the all-time list. Spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619) hold the top three spots. 

The Lancashire star made his Test debut for England in 2003 and has since played 156 Tests. He may be 38, but the quick bowler is not ready to slow down just yet and has his eye on another milestone. 

He said: “I didn’t bowl as well as I’d have liked for the whole summer. But in this Test, I was really on it and I feel like I’ve still got stuff to offer this team. 

“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 [Test wickets]? Why not?”

Sky Sports reports that Anderson has also not ruled out playing in the next Ashes series in 2021-2022. “Rooty said he would like me to be in Australia – I don’t see any reason why I can’t be,” he added. “There is no better feeling than putting the boots on, going out there and doing what I love doing.”

‘Set the bar like Sachin’: tributes to the King of Swing

Joe Root, England Test captain 

“It was a fantastic achievement for Jimmy. To be able to stand up and perform in Test cricket over such a long period of time is an incredible effort achievement. We all know how valuable he is to our squad. He’s a wicket taker but as a senior player and leader of bowlers, helping those young guys come through, he’s so much more than what you see on the field and a credit to our country. Absolutely see [Stuart] Broad and Anderson continuing for a long time for us.”

Stuart Broad, England bowler

“It’s just a phenomenal achievement. He has got better with age and is someone who has inspired me throughout my career. He’s a role model to follow for every English cricketer and young cricketer coming through. He’s always searching to be better and better and 600 won’t be the stopping of him.”

Michael Vaughan, former England captain

“We are witnessing true greatness. I’d be lying if I said we thought we had a bowler that would get this many wickets. We thought we had a bowler of great promise and skill. I never in my wildest dreams thought 17 years later we’d be talking about him getting to 600.”

Glenn McGrath, Australian bowling icon who took 563 Test wickets

“I didn’t have the skill level that Jimmy has. When he’s swinging that ball, both ways, in control, there’s no one better. He’s set the bar a bit like [India batting legend] Sachin [Tendulkar] has. No one is ever going to catch Sachin in Test cricket for the amount of runs he’s scored and the matches he’s played. Jimmy’s done the same for fast bowling.”

Anderson’s Test career in numbers 

Matches: 156
Overs: 5,624.1
Maidens: 1,430
Wickets: 600
Average: 26.79
5fers: 29
10fers: 3
1st dismissal: Mark Vermuelen (Zimbabwe)
600th dismissal: Azhar Ali (Pakistan)

Which teams has he taken the most wickets against?

India: 110
Australia: 104
South Africa: 93
West Indies: 87
Pakistan: 74
New Zealand: 60
Sri Lanka: 52
Zimbabwe: 11
Bangladesh: 9


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