England v India: James Anderson breaks Glenn McGrath’s record for Test wickets

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‘He’s done it’ – Anderson breaks McGrath record to seal England win
Fifth Specsavers Test, The Kia Oval (day five)
England 332 & 423-8 dec: Cook 147, Root 125, Vihari 3-37
India 292 & 345: Rahul 149, Pant 114, Anderson 3-45
England win by 118 runs; take series 4-1

James Anderson took the final wicket to become the most successful fast bowler in Test cricket and secure a 118-run victory in the fifth Test against India at The Oval.

The 36-year-old bowled Mohammed Shami to claim his 564th wicket, surpassing the record of Australia’s Glenn McGrath.

It secured a 4-1 series victory for England, who were held up for much of the fifth day by centuries from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant.

However, a stunning leg-break from Adil Rashid dismissed Rahul as the tourists fell from 325-5 to 345 all out.

England toil before magical finish

Anderson drew level with McGrath’s record with two quick wickets on Monday evening, but he and England could not force victory on Tuesday until late into the final session.

Rahul and Pant’s 204-run stand gave India faint hope of an improbable victory, but Rashid dismissed both players in successive overs to put England on top.

The final three wickets fell quickly: Ishant Sharma and Ravindra Jadeja both edged Sam Curran behind before Anderson bowled Shami with a full, straight delivery.

The players were then led off the field by Alastair Cook in his final Test match for England.

“The last two days will live long in the memory,” ex-England captain Michael Vaughan said on Test Match Special.

“What a week we have had and what a series it has been.”

Rashid produces ‘Shane Warne ball’

Although Anderson took the wicket that sealed the match, it was a superb delivery from Rashid that ended the frustrating sixth-wicket partnership between Pant and Rahul.

Rashid was overlooked for long periods in the morning and afternoon session, and when he did bowl, he struggled for control against India’s two attacking batsmen.

Pant, in particular, tried to dominate Rashid, hitting him for three sixes – one of which brought up his century.

With the new ball available after tea, the leg-spinner may have been expected to be taken out of the attack.

However, Root opted to persist with him – and the old ball – and he was rewarded when the Yorkshire leg-spinner produced a stunning delivery that turned extravagantly after pitching on leg to hit the top of Rahul’s off stump.

Former England batsman Geoffrey Boycott, speaking on Test Match Special, said the delivery was reminiscent of a Shane Warne ball.

The leg-spinner then dismissed the second centurion, with Pant hoicking the ball down to Moeen Ali at long-off.

Given India’s loose batting at times in this series, it may have been surprising to some that they were able to take the game into the final session.

But England let the game drift: Anderson and Broad both opened the bowling and were not seen again until the mid-afternoon.

Anderson’s reintroduction in the 68th over was greeted with the biggest cheer of the day, but he was faced with two set batsmen.

Broad’s omission from the attack may have been due to his broken rib, an after-effect of the blow he took when batting in the first innings, but Anderson’s absence, given his potency in this series, seemed strange.

Rahul & Pant frustrate England

That India got so close to England’s target was down to Rahul and Pant, who batted with intelligence and aggression throughout the day.

Moeen lacked penetration in the afternoon session while Rashid continually dropped short when eventually asked to bowl.

Pant in particular played some eye-catching strokes. He brought up his century in fitting style, getting down on one knee and launching Rashid over deep mid-wicket and into the stands.

Rahul too opted for the aerial route, smearing Stokes over extra cover for six before flat-batting the same bowler down the pitch for four to bring up his own ton.

The two also started quickly after tea, sharing a hug as they reached their 200-run stand, but they were unable to keep out Rashid as he found his line.

Despite the result, this has been a largely competitive series – and India have looked a much-improved side compared to the one that toured here four years ago.

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