England v India Test - Men's
McGrath dethroned in fairytale England win
England quick seals all-time pace-bowling record on final ball as England beat India 4-1
12 September 2018, 08:24 AM AEST
Jimmy Anderson is officially Test cricket's most prolific fast bowler ever.
By taking the final wicket in England's victory over India at The Oval, the swing king took his tally of Test wickets to 564 to pass Glenn McGrath's mark of 563, previously the most ever taken by a paceman.
Audacious centuries from KL Rahul (149) and Rishabh Pant (114) had given India hope of saving the fifth Test on Tuesday and even reaching the target of 464 that was required for a remarkable victory but the day eventually belonged to Anderson.
With less than an hour remaining and India teetering on 9-345, the 36-year-old was finally rewarded for a long spell as he ripped out Mohammed Shami's middle stump.
It took Anderson 19 more Tests than McGrath to take the same number of wickets, while his bowling average of 26.84 – an impressive figure in its own right – sits some way off the legendary Australian's mark of 21.64.
But while the only major critique of Anderson's game has been his record abroad – where he averages of 34.15 compared to 23.76 at home – he was England's leading bowler on their 2010-11 Ashes triumph while he also played a key role in their memorable series victory in India in 2012.
"Records are there to be broken," McGrath told cricket.com.au earlier this year, adding in a recent interview with the Daily Mail: "I will be equally proud of Jimmy when he goes past me.
"The fast bowlers' union has to stick together, whichever country we come from.
"I will be getting in touch with him as soon as he does to say well done. I have an awful lot of respect for Jimmy. Good luck to him. I believe once he goes past me he will never be beaten.
"With the nature of the game these days, and the amount of Twenty20 cricket, I believe no fast bowler will ever go past him."
Not only could Anderson remain Test cricket's most prolific quick in perpetuity, as McGrath believes he will, the Englishman will now target the records of the three legendary spin bowlers still ahead of him on the overall list of wicket takers.
Sri Lankan Muttiah Muralidaran (who took 800 wickets in an illustrious career), Australian leggie Shane Warne (708 wickets) and his former Indian counterpart Anil Kumble (619) are the triumvirate that sit atop those charts.
There could not have been a more fitting conclusion to an incredible few days at the historic south London ground that on Monday witnessed Anderson's close friend Alastair Cook sign off his record-breaking career with an emotional century.
They walked off together to a standing ovation on Tuesday and Anderson was close to tears as he spoke of his achievement.
"Happy that Cooky was on the field to see that wicket, it's been a tough week," Anderson, who played the first of his 143 Tests in 2003, said.
"I'm just happy to win the game. I wasn't even thinking about the record. When India were building that partnership it was looking like they were going to get close.
"But I got into a good rhythm and thankfully (Joe) Root let me take the new ball and gave me a chance to take that wicket."
Cook, England's most-capped Test player and run scorer, led the tributes for his old pal.
"(It has) been a privilege to play with England's greatest cricketer, no disrespect to any other guys, his skills to do it time and time again," he said.
"He didn't miss his length once."
India, the world's top-ranked Test nation, may have lost the series 4-1 but could walk off with their heads held high.
With his top-order teammates back in the pavilion, Rahul went back on the attack with a flurry of boundaries off Ben Stokes, accelerating from 78 to three figures in the space of nine balls, including a six over deep extra cover.
Pant took centre stage after lunch as he treated the Oval crowd to a sensational display of shot-making to become the first Indian wicketkeeper to make a century in England.
The fearless 20-year-old reached his maiden Test ton from 117 balls, reaching three figures with a huge six off Adil Rashid shortly before tea.
The onslaught continued after it as India dared to dream with the score on 5-325 and the partnership worth 204.
Rashid then bowled Rahul with a 'wonder ball' that pitched way outside leg, spinning back out of the rough and hitting off.
Pant struck 19 boundaries, including four sixes, but shortly after Rahul went he holed out trying to smash Rashid into the crowd.
With India's tail exposed, England took the new ball with 18 overs remaining but it was Sam Curran, not Anderson, who struck first to dismiss Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja.
Anderson then applied the coup de grace.
- with PAA