It was a moment that so many sports stars dream of but only the greatest achieve. That career-defining moment where you join the greats of your sport.
Well, James ‘Jimmy’ Anderson is now in that group. Yesterday, he took his 500th Test wicket on day two of the final Test against the West Indies. Even sweeter still, it was on home soil at Lord’s.
He surpassed Sir Ian Botham’s record of 383 Test wickets against the same opponents in 2015 and now he is the first England bowler to ever achieve the feat, Kraigg Brathwaite the victim on this occasion.
“It’s surreal thinking about how much cricket I’ve played and where I’ve got to in the game,” he said.
Anderson remains some way off the record of 800 Test wickets, a record held since 2010 by Muttiah Muralitharan of Sri Lanka.
But the 35-year-old is also in good company in the 500 club with Shane Warne (708 wickets), Anil Kumble (619 wickets), Glenn McGrath (563 wickets) and Courtney Walsh (519 wickets).
Being the character he is, Anderson will already have his sights on those above him.
ANDERSON’S TOP FIVE
To celebrate his incredible achievement the Lancashire bowler has revealed the top five wickets of his international career so far in a piece for The Telegraph.
First up was the dismissal of Brad Haddin in a tightly fought Ashes contest in 2013.
“I bowled an off cutter to Haddin and I didn’t even hear a nick but the other guys went up,” he reflects. “It was my 10th of the game and the reason you play is to take wickets in tense victories. It is probably my best performance for England.”
The original decision was given not out but after a video review it was given. Cue Jimmy and co. going crazy.
His second was came in 2nd Test against Austalia in Adelaide in 2010 where he enticed Ricky Ponting to nick it and Graeme Swann took a two handed catch.
"We always tried to bowl full at Ponting when he first came to the crease thinking he would go for the drive. The ball was pitched exactly where I wanted. He did not try and play a drive, he just pushed at it quite hard and nicked it. Swanny took a great two handed diving catch at second slip."
Skip to 4:00 in the video below:
The dismissal of Dinesh Ramdin in April 2015 won't be remembered by everyone but to Anderson it was a very memorable moment.
"A special one just because it took me past Sir Ian Botham’s record for number of Test wickets for England. I had friends and family out there and the pressure was on to do it in this match.
"The game itself was a bore draw but I will never forget it because of everything that surrounded it personally. The game was drifting and I was worried it wouldn’t happen for me. Broady told me to bowl a leg cutter. I did and bowled a pretty average ball. I did not like it. He said bowl it again. So I did and he edged it. Cooky took a good catch at first slip."
Anderson's career best spell of 7-43 vs New Zealand in2008 had to feature somewhere so it makes his pearling delivery to Brendon McCullum is a favourite.
"I took 7-43 in the first innings which remain my best Test figures to this day. I bowled McCullum with an outswinger which he tried to hit through the leg side. It swung, he missed it and it hit the top of off stump."
Skip to 1:17 to see it below:
The final wicket to make Anderson's top five is that of MS Dhoni in December 2012 in Calcutta where England's leading-wicket taker expertly put a plan into practice against the former India captain.
"In the second innings I got Yuvraj Singh and Dhoni in quick succession. Yuvraj was bowled with one that reversed in, kept a little low and was from around the wicket. But it is the Dhoni one that sticks in my mind.
"I bowled a couple of big inswingers to him first. They were a bit wide and he left them. He was waiting for another inswinger. I bowled an outswinger that did not do a huge amount but because of the two before that had come in, he played at it and edged it to first slip."
“To get key players out in a Test win is what you remember years later,” Anderson concluded. He will now be remembered as a key player in England Test history as he stands alone as the all-time leader.
Take a bow, Jimmy.
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