England’s James Anderson took the final wicket to become the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket and secure a 118-run victory in the fifth Test against India at The Oval.
The 36-year-old bowled Mohammed Shami to claim his 564th wicket, surpassing the record of Australia’s Glenn McGrath.
It secured a 4-1 series victory for England, who were held up for much of the fifth day by centuries from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant.
However, a stunning leg-break from Adil Rashid dismissed Rahul as the tourists fell from 325-5 to 345 all out.
World's number one ranked Test bowler in 2016:
– James Anderson, 34
World's number one ranked Test bowler in 2017:
– James Anderson, 35
World's number one ranked Test bowler in 2018:
– James Anderson, 36
And now, the greatest ever Test Match seam bowler with 564 wickets. pic.twitter.com/tkp7b6tI9c
— Cricket Shouts (@crickshouts) September 11, 2018
England toil before magical finish
Anderson drew level with McGrath’s record with two quick wickets on Monday evening, but he and England could not force victory on Tuesday until late into the final session.
Rahul and Pant’s 204-run stand gave India faint hope of an improbable victory, but Rashid dismissed both players in successive overs to put England on top.
The final three wickets fell quickly: Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja both edged Sam Curran behind before Anderson bowled Shami with a full, straight delivery.
The players were then led off the field by Alastair Cook in his final Test match for England.
“The last two days will live long in the memory,” ex-England captain Michael Vaughan said on Test Match Special (TMS).
James Anderson gets the record to seal the 4-1 series win for England!
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 11, 2018
“What a week we have had and what a series it has been.”
Anderson’s emotion on passing McGrath’s record was evident – the pace bowler teared up as he and Cook left the field – and he finishes the series as the leading wicket-taker with 24 wickets in five Tests.
“I’m trying not to cry,” Anderson told TMS. “It’s been a special achievement for me. It’s not something I’ve aimed for.
“I’ve just enjoyed playing for England – it’s an amazing job.”
When asked about Cook’s retirement, Anderson added: “It’s been difficult. He’s a very good mate of mine and he’s helped me through a lot of my career.
“He’s been there as a friend for me. I’ll miss him.”
Most Test wickets:
Muttiah Muralitharan (SL) – 800
Shane Warne (Aus) – 708
Anil Kumble (Ind) – 619
James Anderson (Eng) – 564
Glenn McGrath (Aus) – 563
— Test Match Special (@bbctms) September 11, 2018
England win – but questions remain
It has been a strange series for England – while they have beaten the number one side in the world, there are lingering questions over the make-up of their side.
They need, once again, to find an opener, although this time it is to replace Cook, while there are still questions over the top order.
Keaton Jennings averages 18.11 from nine innings in this series, while Joe Root started the series batting at three and ended it at four – Moeen Ali brought back into the team and promptly pushed up the order.
Sam Curran, named the man of the series, is a positive for the hosts, having taken 11 wickets and scored 272 runs in the four Tests he played.
Root’s side need to shore up their batting before the winter tour of Sri Lanka – particularly given England’s struggles away from home in recent times.
— Wide World of Sports (@wwos) September 12, 2018
Rashid produces ‘Shane Warne ball’
Although Anderson took the wicket that sealed the match, it was a superb delivery from Rashid that ended the frustrating sixth-wicket partnership between Pant and Rahul.
Rashid was overlooked for long periods in the morning and afternoon session, and when he did bowl, he struggled for control against India’s two attacking batsmen.
Pant, in particular, tried to dominate Rashid, hitting him for three sixes – one of which brought up his century.
With the new ball available after tea, the leg-spinner may have been expected to be taken out of the attack.
However, Root opted to persist with him – and the old ball – and he was rewarded when the Yorkshire leg-spinner produced a stunning delivery that turned extravagantly after pitching outside leg to hit the top of Rahul’s off stump.
Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott, speaking on Test Match Special, said the delivery was reminiscent of a Shane Warne ball.
The leg-spinner then dismissed the second centurion, with Pant hoicking the ball down to Moeen at long-off.
Given India’s loose batting at times in this series, it may have been surprising to some that they were able to take the game into the final session.
What makes James Anderson so good?
— ESPNcricinfo (@ESPNcricinfo) September 11, 2018
But England let the game drift: Anderson and Broad both opened the bowling and were not seen again until the mid-afternoon.
Anderson’s reintroduction in the 68th over was greeted with the biggest cheer of the day, but he was faced with two set batsmen.
Broad’s omission from the attack may have been due to his broken rib, an after-effect of the blow he took when batting in the first innings, but Anderson’s absence, given his potency in this series, seemed strange.
On Anderson: “It was the perfect ball. You want to bring the stumps into play. To see them cartwheel – the stumps drop back and the bails to go – was unreal.
“Now he has gone past Glenn McGrath, that’s something that can never be taken away.
“So many records in this game have gone. It just shows the amount of experience and class in the dressing room.
“It’s been an emotional week.”
The most successful quick bowler in the history of Test cricket… ladies & gentlemen, James Anderson!
— The Field (@thefield_in) September 11, 2018