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Anderson claims record as England draw First Test

Saturday 18th April 2015

James Anderson surpassed Sir Ian Botham as the top wicket-taker in England's Test history, only for West Indies to spoil his party by clinging to a draw in the series opener in Antigua.

Kent's James Tredwell took a fifith wicket in the match but England fell three wickets short of victory.

Anderson marked his 100th cap in grand fashion, removing Marlon Samuels to level Botham's mark of 383 and then becoming a record-breaker in his own right when Denesh Ramdin edged to slip in the evening session.

Anderson celebrated English cricket's new magic number of 384 in ecstatic fashion, sprinting up the pitch with arms outstretched before leaping in joy as his team-mate's swarmed.

As well as his personal milestone Anderson had forced the door ajar for his side, who needed three wickets to win the game in 18.4 overs.

But the hosts closed on 350 for seven, the impressive Jason Holder scoring a vital 103 not out, with number nine Kemar Roach hanging in as the overs evaporated.

England's final chance came and went six overs from stumps when James Tredwell just failed to gather a return catch that had looped off the leg of Gary Ballance at silly point.

The result means England have still not won an away Test since Kolkata in December 2012 and go to the second Test in Grenada at 0-0.

Click here for the scorecard

But once that disappointment passes, this will go down as Anderson's hour.

Since his arrival on the Test stage as a punk-haired 20-year-old, he has experienced the highs and lows of international sport and come through it as a master of his art.

Only 13 players have ever taken more Test scalps than him and it was fitting that both his wickets came from a stand named after one of them – Sir Curtly Ambrose.

At 98 for two overnight, West Indies needed an improbable 340 more to win, a prospect that all but ended with one run from the first six overs.

Anderson's arrival added an element of anticipation but it was Tredwell who broke the deadlock, Devon Smith throwing away a carefully built 65 with a hack to mid-on.

Anderson was not to be denied for long, though, and levelled Botham's mark with the second ball of his fourth over.

In retrospect Samuels might regret driving carelessly at a ball that would not have threatened his stumps, and Tredwell made no mistake at gully.

Anderson exploded in celebration; he does not crave media attention or public profile but he was clearly glad to be sharing Botham's pedestal.

Shivnarine Chanderpaul, the seventh highest run-scorer in Tests, must have seemed an appealing candidate to become number 384 but Anderson's seven-over burst ended without further success.

Chanderpaul had already chewed up 47 deliveries when Cook backed a hunch to send on Joe Root.

Root had already claimed one key wicket late on the fourth evening, Darren Bravo caught brilliantly by Chris Jordan, but this seemed even more important.

It was not a delivery that should have bested a batsman with two decades of Test cricket under his belt, but Chanderpaul let it cannon into his pad going on with the arm.

At 155 for five, and with two full sessions left, the picture looked bleak for the hosts.

But just one wicket fell between lunch and tea as England ground to a halt.

Jermaine Blackwood's cavalier stay ended on 31, a graceless heave at Jordan landing in Jos Buttler's gloves, but Ramdin and Holder proved sturdier.

They scored quickly, an occasional edge outweighed by powerful blows that took advantage of Cook's attacking fields.

Both men took tea on 48, with the scoreboard reading 268 for six.

That set up the final equation of 31 overs to take four wickets and the West Indian duo sucked up 12 of them without major incident.

It took a final blast from Anderson to prise them apart, with possibly his best delivery of the day and a catch to match.

Once the hubbub had subsided, Anderson was briefly back to business, testing Roach with a couple of neat induckers.

An eighth wicket was briefly given by umpire Billy Bowden, but Anderson had hit Roach's pad rather than his bat and the decision was reversed.

Cook did everything he could to force a wicket, rotating bowlers and piling in the close catchers, but Tredwell's half-chance via Ballance's leg was as good as it got.

In the end the closing moments belonged to Holder, whose maiden hundred came just in time.

Anderson sent down the last six balls of the match, but there was no more magic left.