Cricket: Anderson joins England’s greats but team struggle

England's James Anderson holds the ball after taking his 300th Test wicket. Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

England's James Anderson holds the ball after taking his 300th Test wicket. Pic: Anthony Devlin/PA Wire.

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James Anderson can rub shoulders with England’s all-time great bowlers after becoming just the fourth from this country to reach 300 Test wickets yesterday.

Yet when it came to being congratulated on his achievement by Bob Willis and Sir Ian Botham at Lord’s, having joined them in the triple-century club, he was unsure how to react.

Anderson had New Zealand opener Peter Fulton caught by his close friend and teammate Graeme Swann at second slip to make it 300, and therefore found himself centre stage at the home of cricket - whether he liked it or not.

The 30-year-old admitted at the close of play on day two of the first Investec Test that he was relieved to have reached a milestone so obviously imminent at the start of this Ashes summer.

As for the plaudits from Botham and Willis, he said: “I don’t really know how I feel about that.

“It’s quite strange, guys who have done so much in the game and achieved so much - and I watched as a kid - come up and congratulate me on that sort of thing.

“I’m just delighted that I’ve got there, and hope there is plenty more left to come.”

There were two more important eye-witnesses for Anderson, his parents having travelled to London - and taken the precaution of booking in until the final day of the Test on Monday “just in case”.

It was fitting too that Swann should be the catcher who completed Fulton’s dismissal. “It’s nice to see him hold on to one,” Anderson added, with a smile.

“It was a really nice moment, and I could see how much it meant to him as well - how pleased he was for me.”

Despite Anderson’s three wickets, it was the Kiwis who were edging a tight contest after two days - on 153 for four in reply to 232 all out, thanks principally to Tim Southee (four for 58) and Ross Taylor (66).

It is 49 years since Fred Trueman became the first bowler in the world to reach 300.

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