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JAMES ANDERSON took his last opportunity of the Oval Test to claim a famous piece of history as he completed England’s 118-run victory by becoming the world’s most successful pace bowler ever.
Anderson had laboured in vain throughout the final day of the Test summer but was still going strong deep into the evening and clean-bowled India tail-ender Mohammed Shami to conclude England’s 4-1 series success.
As the middle stump cartwheeled backwards behind Shami, it was a moment, of course, which also took England’s all-time leading wicket-taker past Australia great Glenn McGrath to stand alone in fourth place on the all-time Test wicket takers standings with a career tally of 564 — the most for a fast bowler.
England had to hold their nerve to close out their win after KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant had threatened a world-record run chase.
Anderson was billed as the headline act, in search of the one wicket he still needed.
But until his late, late intervention, it was opener Rahul (149) and Pant (114) who lit up a slate-grey final instalment before England bowled India out for 345.
Centuries from the pair had raised the prospect of an upset, but Adil Rashid dismissed both in quick succession to put an end to their 205-run stand.
Anderson was visibly emotional at the close of play — more so having stepped off the field with Alistair Cook for one last time than having claimed such an impressive individual record.
“I’m happy that Cooky was on the field to see that wicket,” he told Sky Sports. “It’s been a tough week.
“He is my best mate and it’s been brilliant to be there [for Cook's career].”
Cook was awarded the player of the match award following his stunning farewell to the Test game, saying: “It’s been the most amazing week, one you couldn't script. It has been amazing.
“To see Jimmy pass Glenn McGrath’s record today was just brilliant.
“We [Cook and Anderson] have been in each other’s pockets for years.
“It’s been a privilege to play with, I think, England’s greatest cricketer. His skill to do it time and time again, you take for granted. It was only fitting that he knocked middle stump out to win the game.”
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