Anderson closes in on Botham’s record

Jimmy Anderson is closing in on Ian Botham's record
Jimmy Anderson is closing in on Ian Botham's record
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Arguably the greatest sportsman Burnley has ever produced, James Anderson passed one England milestone on Monday.

But the 32-year-old has an even bigger slice of history right in his crosshairs.

The “Burnley Express” led England out to field against West Indies in Antigua on the occasion of his 100th Test, becoming only the 13th England player to reach the landmark, most of whom are batsmen.

And he received a silver cap before the start of play from former England captain Michael Atherton as recognition of his magnificent achievement.

A further target was within his sights, however, starting on 380 Test wickets, with Botham’s all-time England best of 383 well in his sights.

Anderson had to wait to get his chance to beat the record, after the hosts won the toss and decided to bowl.

But, after hitting 20 runs as England were all out for 399 in the first innings – taking his Test run tally to 969 in the process – he wasted little time in making inroads.

Already England’s all-time highest international wicket-taker across all three formats, and only the fourth English bowler to take 300 Test wickets, Anderson claimed his first scalp in his fifth over as he forced an edge off Devon Smith, having the opener caught behind by Joss Buttler for 11 at 19.

But on a relatively dead track giving more help to the batsmen, Anderson, despite giving little away, went back to the dressing room at the close of play on Tuesday with figures of 1-24 off 13 overs – eight of which were maidens.

He returned on Wednesday requiring three more wickets, although it was the spin of James Tredwell which proved effective, the Kent man claiming 4-47.

Anderson returned to take the last wicket, having Sulieman Benn caught at short leg by Joe Root, with West Indies all out for 295, 104 adrift.

Anderson finished with 2-67 off 23, with nine maidens, setting up history in the making.

He could set a new mark in the closing two days of the Test – an incredible achievement from a man who started playing cricket aged nine at Turf Moor with Burnley’s Under 11s, and made his first team debut aged 15.

He played for the county at Under 15, 17 and 19 level, featuring for the seconds, before, aged 18, he earned a professional contract at Old Trafford.

He made his first team debut for Lancashire at the end of the 2001 season in a one-day game, and the following season made his first-class debut at Old Trafford against Surrey – finishing the season with 50 first-class wickets as he was selected for the England Academy in Adelaide in Australia that winter.

Within three months he was called up to the England one-day squad after an injury to Andrew Caddick, and made his ODI debut in the second game of the series against Australia at the MCG in front of 50,000, claiming Adam Gilchrist as his first international wicket.

From there Anderson was selected for the 2003 World Cup in South Africa, taking 4-29 against Pakistan, and his Test debut came against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in 2003, taking 11 wickets in a 2-0 series win.

The rest is history!