James Anderson takes 300th Test wicket for England

 

Pace bowler James Anderson has become only the fourth England player to take 300 Test wickets.

Lancashire's Anderson, 30, joined Sir Ian Botham, Bob Willis and Fred Trueman by having New Zealand opener Peter Fulton caught by Graeme Swann on the second day of the first Test at Lord's.

"It was an emotional moment for me, I've worked really hard to get myself cemented in this team," he said.

Anderson, playing his 81st Test, made his debut against Zimbabwe in 2003.

The road to 300

"With England scheduled to play 11 Tests in the next nine months, including back-to-back Ashes series, expect Anderson to motor past Trueman and Willis - 307 and 325 wickets respectively - to leave only Botham ahead."

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He began the first Test of the summer on 298 Test wickets and had Hamish Rutherford caught at slip by captain Alastair Cook in his first over.

Then, when Fulton edged an outswinger to Swann at second slip, Anderson became the 26th bowler in Test cricket to reach the 300-wicket milestone.

Anderson also added the scalp of Ross Taylor, his 301st wicket, as New Zealand closed on 153-4 in reply to England's 232 all out.

If he is to become England's most successful Test bowler of all time, he will have to overhaul Botham's 383, with Trueman's 307 and Willis's 325 his next targets.

"[Passing Botham] would be nice but it's a long way away," Anderson told BBC Sport. "I just want to keep taking wickets to put us into match-winning positions and hopefully the records will take care of themselves."

Anderson made his England debut in a one-day international in Australia in 2003, after playing only three one-day games for Lancashire.

Impressive performances down under earned him a place at that year's World Cup and a Test debut at Lord's, with the right-armer taking 5-73 against the touring Zimbabweans.

However, with back injuries blighting the early part of his career, Anderson would play only 20 Tests over the next five years and was the regular reserve for the 2005 Ashes-winning pace attack of Steve Harmison, Andrew Flintoff, Simon Jones and Matthew Hoggard.

James Anderson's 300 Test wickets

But, with injuries and poor form gradually taking that foursome from the international game, Anderson has held a regular place in the England side since the tour of New Zealand in 2008.

Career-best figures of 11-71 followed against Pakistan at Trent Bridge in 2010, with Anderson going on to take 24 wickets on the tour of Australia in 2010-11 as England won the Ashes down under for the first time in 24 years.

In February of this year, Anderson claimed his 529th scalp in all formats to pass Botham's 528 and become England's leading international wicket-taker.

"He's right up there with the best that England have had and he's right up there with the best in the world," said former England captain Michael Vaughan.

"He really has been a most skilful bowler. I wasn't captain when he was at his best but you could always tell he was the guy that could produce magic.

"He's been the guy that has led the attack in all conditions. The one tag was that he didn't bowl well in the subcontinent, but last winter in India he proved that wrong."

Sri Lanka off-spinner Muttiah Muralitharan holds the record for the most Test wickets with 800.  Australia leg-spinner Shane Warne is next on 708, with India's Anil Kumble having claimed 619.

Pace bowlers Glenn McGrath and Courtney Walsh both passed 500, while six other men have taken 400.

Of those still playing Test cricket, only India's Harbhajan Singh (413), New Zealand's Daniel Vettori (360) and South Africa's Dale Steyn (332) have collected more wickets than Anderson.