Anderson takes 600th Test wicket in rain-hit draw
SOUTHAMPTON: England paceman James Anderson cemented his place in cricket history by taking his 600th Test wicket as the rain-marred third and final Test against Pakistan at Southampton ended in a draw on Tuesday.
Fresh downpours prevented play on the last day until 1515 GMT, meaning England, who were 1-0 up in the series, did not have enough time to force a victory at the Ageas Bowl.
But despite the tame end to the series, all eyes were on Anderson and the 38-year-old did not disappoint, striking with his 14th ball of the day to reach the 600-wicket milestone.
Defying a docile pitch, he produced a rising delivery that moved away from Pakistan captain Azhar Ali, a first-innings century-maker, with England skipper Joe Root holding a head-high catch at first slip.
There was applause and cheers from Anderson’s team-mates, with the nick off the shoulder of Azhar’s bat clearly audible at an empty Ageas Bowl.
Azhar’s exit for 31 left Pakistan, following on, 109-3 — still 201 runs adrift of England’s first innings 583-8 declared.
After Anderson struck, the remaining energy in the contest appeared to drain away and a draw was agreed as the match entered the last hour.
The result meant England secured their first series win over Pakistan in a decade.
Anderson is only the fourth bowler to reach the mark of 600 Test wickets and the only men ahead of him in the all-time Test list are three retired spinners Sri Lanka’s Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619).
After Anderson struck, Babar Azam completed a 76-ball fifty featuring six fours. But when it seemed the match was petering out, part-time spinner Root had Asad Shafiq caught by substitute James Bracey at short leg to leave Pakistan 172-4.
The next over saw England take the new ball to suggest they might press for victory but after just one Stuart Broad delivery in the statutory last hour, a draw was agreed.
Babar was 63 not out, with Pakistan finishing on 187-4, batting for 27.1 overs on the short final day, still 123 runs short of England’s massive 583 for eight declared.
Anderson’s innings return of 2-45 from 19 overs gave him match figures of 7-101.
Zak Crawley, however, was named man-of-the-match for his stunning 267 — the 22-year-old Kent batsman’s maiden Test century. Together with Jos Buttler (152) he shared an England record fifth-wicket stand of 359.
Anderson had been left just one wicket shy of 600 as a combination of poor catching, bad weather and determined Pakistan batting thwarted him on Monday.
He might even have reached the landmark late on Sunday but he was frustrated by a clutch of dropped chances.
There seemed to be relief as much as joy for Anderson (2-45) after his historic moment as he further cemented his place as one of Test cricket’s greats after coming into the match under pressure amid talk among some pundits that he should retire.
His match haul of 7-101 suggests otherwise and he may have a new milestone in sight with Test crickets third-highest wicket-taker, Kumble (619) not too far ahead.
England claimed the series after winning the first Test at Old Trafford in Manchester by three wickets, with the last two matches in Southampton both drawn after being blighted by bad weather.
England remain third in the ICC Test Championship table with 292 points, adrift of leaders India (360 points). Their next Test fixture is uncertain due to the novel coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.
Meanwhile, England and Pakistan will now start a three-match Twenty20 International series at Old Trafford from Friday.
ENGLAND (1st Innings) 583-8 declared (Z. Crawley 267, J.C. Buttler 152, C.R. Woakes 40; Fawad Alam 2-46).
PAKISTAN (1st Innings) 273 (Azhar Ali 141 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 53; J.M. Anderson 5-56).
PAKISTAN (2nd Innings, overnight 100-2):
Shan Masood lbw b Broad 18
Abid Ali lbw b Anderson 42
Azhar Ali c Root b Anderson 31
Babar Azam not out 63
Asad Shafiq c sub b Root 21
Fawad Alam not out 0
EXTRAS (LB-9, NB-3) 12
TOTAL (for four wkts, 83.1 overs) 187
FALL OF WKTS: 1-49, 2-88, 3-109, 4-172.
BOWLING: Anderson 19-3-45-2; Broad 14.1-5-27-1; Woakes 8-2-14-0; Archer 14-8-14-0; Bess 21-4-54-0; Root 6-0-17-1; Sibley 1-0-7-0 (3nb).
RESULT: Match drawn; England win three-match series 1-0.
UMPIRES: M.A. Gough (England) and R.K. Illingworth (England).
TV UMPIRE: R.A. Kettleborough (England).
MATCH REFEREE: B.C. Broad (England).
MAN-OF-THE-MATCH: Zak Crawley.
MEN-OF-THE-SERIES: Jos Buttler (England) and Mohammad Rizwan (Pakistan).
FIRST TEST: Old Trafford, England won by three wickets.
SECOND TEST: Southampton, match drawn.
Published in Dawn, August 26th, 2020