James Anderson needed just three wickets to enter the elite 500 club when he was handed the ball to deliver the first over of the ongoing third Test against the Windies at Lord’s. And the right-arm pacer did not waste time in taking a big step towards becoming the first Englishman to take 500 Test wickets as he took two early wickets.
However, he remained wicketless for the remainder of the innings, seeing Ben Stokes wreaking havoc from one end. But the England pace spearhead did not have to wait long in the Windies’ second innings as he clean bowled Kraigg Brathwaite in only his second over to reach the magical milestone of 500 Test wickets. Anderson went on take one more wicket as the tourists finished the day two on 93 for 3, leading England by 22 runs.
Speaking after the day’s play, Anderson admitted that it was a relief to finally become the first Englishman and only the sixth bowler to take 500 wickets.
“To get out of the way and focus on the game situation is a great help,” said Anderson. “I bowled a few outswingers at him [Brathwaite] first over and I thought I’d try a full and straight one. It nipped back down the slope. It was a bit of a frustrating day. I don’t think we bowled as well as we did first innings and the pitch looked like it was getting a bit easier.”
Anderson further revealed that he was emotional after reaching the milestone.
“I felt a bit emotional on the field because I knew my family were there, my kids, my mum and dad, my missus,” he said. “Knowing they were there made it very special. Sharing it with guys I’ve played over a hundred Tests with, again, made it an amazing feeling.
“It was different emotion. I usually go through anger and then more anger but today was a bit more emotional. I don’t normally get like that during a game when I’m trying to focus. It took me a bit by surprise,” he added.
Anderson could not have asked for a better venue to achieve the record. It was at the ‘home of cricket,’ where he made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2003 and castled Mark Vermeulen to pick his first Test wicket. He had gone on to take five wickets in that innings.
“I remember the first one [wicket] well,” he said. “To do it here was very memorable, such a special place to play. I could see how much it meant to Kemar Roach, getting his first five-for. That’s what it means to people to have your name etched in history here at such a historic ground so I feel very fortunate to get the wickets I have here.”
While Anderson admitted that he was emotional after reaching the milestone, he made it clear that helping England win matches is his utmost priority.
“Milestones are nice but that’s not what drives me,” he said. “I want to help England win games of cricket. That’s my motivation and why I turn up every day trying to improve myself. I’m loving playing cricket, I think I’m bowling well, I’m feeling fit and strong and really enjoying playing in this team. Hopefully that can continue for a while yet.”