James Anderson began the third test at 593 wickets. He didn’t have the best outing last time and he even acknowledged it but insisted that he was not done with cricket yet. Still, he believed, he had a lot to offer for his team but he needed to perform better in order to retire on his own terms. We knew he meant what he said when he came charging-in for the first spell of Pakistan’s innings and scalped three quick wickets to leave Pakistan reeling at 24/3. Masood being leg before while Abid caught at slip and to end the day with big wicket of Babar Azam, caught in front of wicket.

Read match report

Day 1 https://allaboutcric.com/score/crawleys-century-and-record-stand-with-buttler-put-england-on-top/

Day 2 https://allaboutcric.com/score/crawley-buttler-bat-pakistan-out-of-the-match/

He began Day 3 with another wicket of Shafiq, edged to Root at first slip. It seemed he would reach the milestone in the first innings itself. A defiant Azhar Ali, however,  prevented further collapse and with several partnerships took his team to a respectable score. Anderson got a second chance to go at the Pakistan batsman post 80 overs, with second new ball. But his fielders disappointed him with three missed chances. First Burns dropped Ali at second slip, then Crawley dropped Abbas at 4th slip and lastly Ali again dropped at mid on by Broad, however, he recovered well to get a run out. Anderson then got the last wicket of Naseem Shah, caught by Sibley at 3rd slip, to take his tally to 598.

The wait for No. 600 now entered the next day, where a following-on Pakistan team was batting to save the innings defeat. On a day marred with frequent rain interruptions, the vigilant Pakistan openers batted well to see off the new ball, but it included a let-off. Buttler was the culprit this time, who dropped a wobbling ball coming at him through Masood’s thick edge but passed straight through his gloves. 45 overs later, Anderson finally got a breakthrough, the 599th one- Abid Ali caught leg before. Bad weather prevented further play and Anderson was left stranded at 599 with next day’s forecast not so bright. If Andersons was denied a chance for his 600th scalp, he would have to wait for a considerable time as England won’t play anymore test this summer.

As expected it was pouring heavily at the start of Day 5, and a wet outfield thereafter didn’t help Anderson’s cause. Two sessions went past without a ball being bowled but finally the hard work of grounds men paid off and their hero got a chance to shoot at glory and he didn’t miss. It was the second delivery of the 6th over of the day, a ball bowled just outside off stumps line, got an extra bounce of good length, thereby altering the calculations of a surprised Azhar Ali, whose forward defence was not good enough to tackle the extra bounce. The ball took his bat’s edge straight into the hands of Joe Root, who didn’t fumble and allowed Anderson to enter the much awaited and well deserved entry to the 600 club- the first fast bowler to do so. The elite club already features the stalwarts of the game namely Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619).


James Anderson is one of the greatest exponents of swing and seam bowling. His control on the ball, his length and line is immaculate. The way he sets up a batsman, with a series of away-swingers and then bowl a deadly in-swinger or do it the other way round, is a treat to watch. The deadly combination of Duke’s ball and English conditions suits him the best. To be a fast bowler and achieve such feat, which was only till date achieved by spinners, is a testament to his fitness level and of course the top quality of his bowling.

Like an old wine, Anderson too, has only become better with age as his statistics suggests. He has achieved every successive milestone at a better average. He got his 100th wicket at 34.80 runs per wicket, 200th at 32.20, 300th at 30.43, 400th at 29.30, 500th at 27.64 and now 600th wicket at the average of 26.76.

  • No. 1 Mark Vermulen (vs Zimbabwe @ Lord’s 2003) : Cleaned up by a pacy delivery through his defence.
  • 100:   Jacques Kallis (vs South Africa @Oval 2008): A full delivery that tailed in to trap him leg before.
  • 200: Peter Siddle (vs Australia @ Perth 2010) : Edged to Paul Collingwood at second slip.
  • 300: Peter Fulton (vs New Zealand @Lord’s 2013) : Again edged to second slip off a forward defense to be caught by Swann.
  • 400:Martin Guptill (vs New Zealand, @Headingley, 2015) : A similar dismissal, caught at second slip, trying to defend.
  • 500: Kraigg Brathwaite (vs West Indies @Lord’s 2017) : A massive in swinger that rattled the stumps.
  • 600: Azhar Ali (vs Pakistan @Southampton 2020) : A bit of extra bounce from length surprised Ali to take his edge to Joe Root’s waiting hands at first slip.

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