Anderson becomes the first seamer to 700 Test wickets

James Anderson scaled new heights in the foothills of the Himalayas on Saturday morning, as he became the first seam bowler to claim 700 Test wickets, against India in Dharamsala.

The moment came in the fourth over of the third morning, as Anderson induced Kuldeep Yadav into a thin edge to the keeper for 30, to help his team bowl India out for 477, a first-innings deficit of 259.

Anderson is the third bowler in all of Test cricket to reach 700 wickets, with only spinners Muthiah Muralidaran (800) and Shane Warne (708) ahead of him in the all-time list.

No specialist bowler of any type has played more Tests than Anderson, who is currently playing his 187th match of a career that began against Zimbabwe at Lord’s in May 2003, nearly 21 years ago.

Anderson had started the Dharamsala Test on 698 wickets and moved to 699 shortly after lunch on day two, when he bowled Shubman Gill through the gate for 110.

Anderson’s former Test captain, Alastair Cook, currently working as a studio pundit for TNT Sports, paid tribute to his skill and longevity.

“It is a superb achievement,” Cook said, having captained Anderson in 49 of his Test appearances. “His hunger to get better and win games of cricket for England is unbelievable. The physical challenges he has overcome to be able to play nearly 190 Test matches is a joke and his skill is a joke.”

Anderson is nearly 100 wickets clear of the next most-prolific seam bowler in Test history, his long-term England partner Stuart Broad, who retired at the end of last summer’s Ashes with 604 to his name.

At The Oval in 2018, Anderson overtook Glenn McGrath’s previous record of 563 wickets for a Test seamer, when he dismissed India’s Mohammed Shami with the final ball of that match. He went on to pass 600 wickets with the wicket of Pakistan’s Azhar Ali at Southampton in 2020.

The wicket of Kuldeep was the 149th that Anderson has claimed against India, the most he has claimed against any Test opponent. Of those, 44 have now come in 17 Tests in India, at an average of 30.27. In all he has claimed 434 of his 700 wickets on home soil, and 266 overseas, including 92 in Asia, at 27.51.

Zimbabwe’s Mark Vermeulen was Anderson’s first Test wicket, at Lord’s in May 2003. Since then, his landmark victims have been South Africa’s Jacques Kallis (100th), Australia’s Peter Siddle (200th), New Zealanders Peter Fulton and Martin Guptill (300th and 400th respectively), and West Indies’ Kraigg Brathwaite (500th).

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