Paceman becomes first Englishman to Test milestone and 12th overall
James Anderson has become the first Englishman to reach 400 Test wickets during the second Test against New Zealand at Headingley.
Anderson passed Sir Ian Botham’s record English mark of 383 Test wickets on his side’s recent tour of the Caribbean, and on a rain-interrupted day one in Leeds against the Black Caps, he joined an elite club of just 12 with 400-plus Test wickets beside their name.
The right-arm quick, 32, is the first bowler since India’s Harbhajan Singh in July 2011 to reach the rare mark.
“I love taking wickets, I love playing for England and that’s all I’m bothered about,” Anderson told Sky Sports after breaking Botham’s record last month.
“You pick up milestones along the way but it’s a dream come true to play for England. Hopefully I can carry on for a few more years.”
Anderson took two early wickets to make it advantage England following the rain delay, as play began after an early lunch break.
First to fall was Martin Guptill (0), edging to Ian Bell at second slip, and after another brief rain delay, Kane Williamson (0) followed him back to the pavilion after nicking through to Jos Buttler behind the stumps to leave New Zealand reeling at 2-2.
Anderson has also moved further clear of South Africa superstar Dale Steyn, currently sitting on 396 Test wickets, and looks likely to move past a host of other legends in the coming months with the current two-Test series against New Zealand followed by five more against Australia in the English summer.
For Jimmy Anderson, becoming the 12th bowler to reach 400 Test wickets – and the first Englishman among them – was a surreal moment. The leader of Alastair Cook’s attack admits he will soon be considered over the hill but that day is being delayed by the rejuvenating effects of playing alongside an aggressive group of young cricketers.
“It’s a nice feeling and it was a proud moment for me,” Anderson said. “It feels a bit surreal when you see the list of guys who have done it, guys I’ve watched and admired over the years. I knew it was there so it was nice to get it out the way early so I could try to concentrate on bowling. I’d rather do it at Old Trafford but it will do.”
Anderson and Steyn will also go head to head when their respective sides meet in December and January over four Tests.
The pair are positioned first (Steyn) and second (Anderson) in the ICC Test rankings, and while Anderson looks likely to get a jump on the Proteas spearhead in the short term, it would be a brave men to rule out Steyn overtaking him by the end of his career.
Eleven months Anderson’s junior, the South African quick’s strike-rate of 41.6 (equating to one wicket roughly every seven overs) is comfortably the best of all bowlers with 200-plus Test wickets.
Most Test wickets: Muthiah Muralidaran 800, Shane Warne 708, Anil Kumble 619, Glenn McGrath 563, Coutney Walsh 519, Kapil Dev 434, Sir Richard Hadlee 431, Shaun Pollock 421, Wasim Akram 414, Harbhajan Singh 413, Curtly Ambrose 405, James Anderson 401.