England pace bowler James Anderson overtook former India leg-spinner Anil Kumble to become the third highest wicket-taker in Test cricket history on Friday. The pace bowler got KL Rahul on the third day of the first Test for his 620th scalp, to go past Kumble.
Soon after that, he got rid of Shardul Thakur to take his 621st Test scalp.
The veteran bowler has played the most Test matches for England, having surpassed former England opener Alastair Cook during the series against New Zealand in June.
He is into his 163rd Test and by the time the five-Test series against India ends — assuming he plays all games — he is likely to be one short of 168 Steve Waugh and Ricky Ponting’s tally of 168 Tests. Only Sachin Tendulkar, with 200 Tests, has played more.
In the list of top wicket-takers in Test cricket, he is the only pacer to have gone past 600 wickets. Those above him are both spinners — former Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne and ex-Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan.
No wonder his achievement left former England footballer Gary Lineker thrilled.
“Oh Jimmy Jimmy, Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Jimmy Anderson. What a bowler is @jimmy9,” tweeted Lineker.
Anderson had made it clear ahead of the first Test that he also plans to play the next home season.
Even at his age of 39, Anderson has a habit of picking the best batsmen from the opposition.
Over a decade back, he had marked out Sachin Tendulkar from the Indian camp and got him out several times whereas now he has set his eyes on Tendulkar’s successor — as Indian batting lynchpin at No. 4 — Virat Kohli.
Anderson has got Kohli out six times, the latest being the first Test. By the time Anderson finishes his career he could be well past 650 scalps.
Quite a few of those could be Kohli’s as he will get nine more shots at the India captain during the ongoing series.