Sweet and sour for record-breaking James Anderson

England's James Anderson
England's James Anderson

James Anderson will have bittersweet memories of the day he became England’s leading Test wicket-taker after his efforts were not enough to prevent a draw against the West Indies.

Anderson struck twice on the final day of the first Test in Antigua, with edges from Marlon Samuels and Denesh Ramdin taking him passed Sir Ian Botham’s 23-year-old record and setting a new benchmark of 384 scalps.

But the home side dug deep to finish on 350 for seven, with Anderson and his fellow bowlers blunted by the bat of centurion Jason Holder and an unhelpful pitch.

In years to come Anderson will surely look back on his 100th cap with fondness, from the handshake and congratulations from Botham as he left the pitch to the balcony full of friends and family who witnessed his triumph.

But in the immediate aftermath, his competitive edge made him a man of mixed emotions.

“Taking over from an English legend is a proud moment for me,” he said.

“A lot of my mates were out there with me and it was great that my family were there too.

“But my immediate thought when I got the wicket was that we were back in the game, that we’d opened an end up to get a sniff of winning.

“We tried everything out there to win the game: different fields, cutters, reverse swing.

“It’s frustrating in that respect, but I’m happy to have got that out of the way.”

It was fitting that Cook was stationed at slip to pouch the chance that took Anderson past Botham’s landmark, with the pair forming a strong on and off-field bond over their years together.

“It’s not necessarily that he took the catch, just that he was on the field when I did it,” said Anderson.

“We’ve played a lot together and it means a lot, to him as well as me, but I wouldn’t have forgiven him if he’d dropped it.”

Anderson also lifted the lid on his torch-passing moment with Botham on the outfield.

“I saw him as we left the field and he congratulated me, which was nice. He said something about alcohol and sharing a glass,” added Anderson.

“He could have made the effort and brought it out here but he says he’s got a nice bottle waiting at home, which is really kind of him.”