Weather cannot stop James Anderson reaching 600 Test wickets for England

Relief for bowler as he reaches yet another milestone as match against Pakistan ends in draw while hosts win series 1-0

SOUTHAMPTON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 25:  James Anderson of England acknowledges the changing rooms whilst being applauded by Rory Burns, James Bracey and Stuart Broad of England after taking the wicket of Azhar Ali of Pakistan to reach 600 Test Match Wickets  during Day Five of the 3rd #RaiseTheBat Test Match between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl on August 25, 2020 in Southampton, England. (Photo by Alastair Grant/Pool via Getty Images)
Powered by automated translation

James Anderson said he thought the weather was going to leave him one short of 600 Test wickets indefinitely, before he became the first seam bowler to achieve that milestone.

Heavy rain overnight and in the morning meant England and Pakistan played out a drab draw on the final day of the third lockdown Test in Southampton.

One moment will live long in the memory though as Anderson was afforded just enough time to get the one wicket he needed for 600.

It came when Azhar Ali, the Pakistan captain, edged to Joe Root at slip and – unlike a number of the colleagues in his near vicinity had done – the England held on.

“The weather last night was horrendous, and this morning it was still pouring down, so I wasn’t holding out much hope of playing today,” Anderson said in his post-match television interview.

“I was thinking even if I didn’t get the chance today, there are worse numbers to be stuck on for a few months, so I was happy either way.”

The global pandemic means it remains unclear quite when England’s Test players will take the field again.

It also deprived the chance of Anderson achieving his feat in front of his family, or any sort of crowd at all.

“It is the nature of the world we live in at the minute, it is such a strange time,” Anderson said. “At the start of the summer, we weren’t expecting to play much cricket at all.

"A lot of credit should go to the people that have made this happen. It is frustrating not having a crowd here, but we would much rather be out there playing than not.”

Root labelled Anderson a “credit to our country” and praised his longevity.

“We celebrated what a fantastic achievement it was,” Root said of the post-match briefing his team had held.

“Stuart [Broad] said today was very similar to a cold Wednesday night at Stoke in the Premier League. If there was cricket version, this would be it.

“To do it like this, and be at the elite end of cricket for such a long time, is an incredible effort.”

The draw meant England won the three-match series 1-0.

Zak Crawley was named man of the match for his double century, while Jos Buttler and Mohammed Rizwan, the respective wicketkeepers, were the players of the series for the two sides.

“It was a great day today, it was just a shame it wasn’t a full house to see one of England’s greats get there,” Buttler said of Anderson.

“He seems to be getting better and better. That is exciting for England and inspirational for all of us in the dressing room.”