Anderson joins the greats with wicket No 528 pegging him level with Botham
22:25 GMT, 15 December 2012
If Jimmy Anderson could have chosen the perfect delivery with which to grab his personal share of England’s sporting history, this would have been close to it, and his reaction showed he thought so, too.
Standing one wicket shy of Sir Ian Botham’s record number of wickets in all international cricket for his country, the 30-year-old roared in to bowl the last ball of his 14th over of a long and thus far fruitless day.
Finding the swing and seam movement with which he had run through the Indian top order on Friday but only been able to tap into sporadically on Saturday, he speared an absolute snorter into the pads of left-hander Ravindra Jadeja and wheeled round just in time to see umpire Kumar Dharmasena raise a finger.
Achievement: Jimmy Anderson made his mark in the record books when he took his 528th wicket
A leap in the air, followed by a punch of his clenched right fist and a howl of joy, Anderson was engulfed by his team-mates. No wonder.
At one stage it looked probable that England might go wicketless all day for only the fourth time ever, but that strike was Anderson’s fourth of the innings for 68 runs in 26 overs as India ended the third day on 297-8 in response to England’s 330.
In terms of the series, it was his 12th wicket at an average of 29.16, which includes the record ninth Test dismissal of Sachin Tendulkar. It was also his 46th strike of 2012, confirming him as the leading wicket-taker among the world’s pacemen since January 1. And it was his 288th Test wicket, bringing him well in range of England’s all-time top four — Botham (383), Bob Willis (325), Fred Trueman (307) and Derek Underwood (297).
Legend: Ian Botham also scored an impressive 5,200 Test runs
His international career began 10 years ago on Saturday, on December 15, 2002, in a one-dayer against Australia in Melbourne. He has since added 222 one-day international wickets and 18 Twenty20 scalps, putting him level pegging with Botham on 528 wickets in all cricket for England, with power to add.
Most importantly for him and his colleagues and their efforts to cross the ‘final frontier’ of success in the sub-continent, in taking himself to the brink of greatness — at least statistically — Anderson improved the chances of rewriting an unwanted record by becoming the first England team to win in India for 27 years.
And how they needed it. Where Anderson had made England look almost unstoppable in rifling out Virender Sehwag, Tendulkar and Gautam Gambhir on day two as India slid to 71-4 overnight and a deficit of 243, they had made just one breakthrough before Anderson intervened.
In a painstaking fifth-wicket stand, Virat Kohli and skipper MS Dhoni dug in a pitch deader than the dodo and, with less than an hour left, it seemed India might bat all day without losing a wicket, a feat last achieved against England by Australia at Trent Bridge in 1989.
Kohli’s 343 minutes of resistance ended when he played outside a rare turning ball from Graeme Swann which would have clipped leg stump, and England celebrated as though as they had won the series there and then.
You could hardly blame them, because they had waited 84 overs for something to shout about.
Tale of the day
Dhoni has 99 problems
MS Dhoni became the 15th player to be run out on 99 in Tests and the first captain. Michael Atherton, before he was England skipper, knows how Dhoni feels, having been dismissed the same way against Australia at Lord’s in 1993 (right), slipping after being sent back by Mike Gatting.
Bresnan on a dry run
At the close yesterday, Tim Bresnan had not taken a Test wicket in 74 overs. His last success was at Headingley in August, when he dismissed South Africa captain Graeme Smith. After going wicketless in games at Lord’s and Ahmedabad he toiled away for 26 overs in Nagpur without joy.
Kohli grinds it out
Until now, century-maker Virat Kohli had endured a shocking series, failing to score above 20 in his first six innings in the series. The 295 balls he faced in scoring 103 in Nagpur beat the total of 240 he had encountered in the rest of the series put together.
Gower’s mark is safe
As England took drinks after a fruitless 76 overs, they must have thought they might go a day without a wicket. It has happened three times to them; in 1960 against West Indies in Bridgetown, 1982 against India in Chennai and under David Gower in 1989 against Australia at Trent Bridge.
Then, after Anderson dismissed Jadeja at 288-6 to ensure Dhoni now had to shoulder even more of the burden of dragging his side into a first-innings lead, up stepped captain Alastair Cook to set them alight.
In his first series as full-time captain, Cook has already done more than enough with the bat, of course, but he may look back on the brilliant direct hit with which he ran out Dhoni on 99 by no more than an inch with as much satisfaction as he feels for any of his three centuries.
Dhoni had been stuck in the nineties for 17 overs and the best part of an hour when he pushed a ball from Anderson to the right of Cook at midwicket.
He might have thought, wrongly, that, as Cook bats left-handed, the ball had gone towards his weaker arm.
More likely, though, is that he was
desperate for a single to take him to the century that would have been
the perfect response to those critics calling for his head. He probably
wasn’t thinking of anything much else as he set off, before veering
slightly to avoid the bowler.
Cook’s throw hit the target from side-on and Dharmasena called for the
television umpire to judge the call, the cheers of the crowd turned
instantly to stunned silence. Not bad for a man whose appointment as
one-day captain prompted former England skipper Mike Atherton to object
on the grounds that he was a ‘donkey’ in the field.
replays showed the airborne bat had come to ground on the line rather
than over it as the ball struck, all the noise was coming from the Barmy
And they hit the roof
when Swann fizzed one past Piyush Chawla’s outside edge into off stump
to leave India on 297-8 at the close. That meant that England were still
33 runs ahead and just two days of solid cricket away from crossing
what Cook calls the ‘final frontier’.
If they manage it, after having being so badly pummeled in the first Test in Ahmedabad, this team will feel it may be the start of something big.
For Anderson, the record-equalling wicket was the continuation of something that could end up being huge.
We are unable to carry live pictures from the fourth Test in Nagpur due to a dispute between the Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) and international news organisations.
The BCCI has refused access to Test venues to established picture agencies Getty Images and Action Images and other Indian photographic agencies.
MailOnline consider this action to be a strike against press freedom and supports the action to boycott BCCI imagery.