Seamer takes five-for within opening eight overs at Emirates Old Trafford to reach landmark
James Anderson said that taking his 1000th first-class wicket felt “very, very special” after he reached the career milestone during a vintage afternoon’s work on day two of Lancashire’s County Championship match against Kent at Emirates Old Trafford.
Anderson, the most-prolific fast bowler in Test history, went into the game on 995 wickets in all red-ball cricket and, after the first day and a half was washed out, wasted no time in snapping up another five-for with the new ball.
Kent middle-order batter Heino Kuhn was the man to go as Anderson reached the 1000 mark, edging a trademark outswinger through to the keeper to cue the celebrations.
The last seam bowler to reach the mark was Andrew Caddick in 2005. Overall, Anderson is the 216th man to achieve the feat.
“It feels great,” Anderson said at the close. “I have been getting ribbed from the lads upstairs because I genuinely didn’t know how many wickets I’d taken. At first I thought they were going a bit over the top for a five-for but to see the reaction from the lads was really special and then to get to chew the fat with them after the day was really nice.
“I have been doing loads of work in the nets and all I was thinking about today was grooving my action and working on some stuff – I wanted to make sure I bowled well and got into that rhythm. Luckily it came off today.”
Bowling from the end of the ground that bears his name, Anderson claimed a wicket in each of his first three overs. England team-mate Zak Crawley was caught in the slip cordon, as was Jordan Cox, before Ollie Robinson feathered through to Dane Vilas behind the stumps – all three of them victim to perfectly pitched seaming deliveries that took the outside edge.
Jack Leaning resisted for a few overs, before being lured into sending another edge to Rob Jones in the slips, and Kuhn went in Anderson’s next over – giving the 39-year-old figures of 7-5-3-5. He then added two more as Kent slipped to 34 for 8, before a relative rally from the lower-order, took them to 74 all out on the stroke of tea.
Anderson’s final analysis of 7 for 19 from 10 overs was his 51st five-for and best innings return for Lancashire.
“I felt really good from ball one,” he said. “Sometimes you can just feel that way from the moment the ball comes and you know it’s going to be a good day. The first ball went exactly where I wanted it to go, it swung, the conditions were favourable, it carried which means you don’t have to force it and if you find the right length the nicks will carry. From then on I was just trying to challenge the defence of the batters as much as possible.”
Anderson made his first-class debut for Lancashire in 2002, at the age of 19; his maiden wicket was that of Surrey opener Ian Ward. He was first capped in Tests the following summer, taking a five-for on debut against Zimbabwe, and has gone on to a record-breaking career at international level.
Last year he became the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets, and his appetite remains undimmed ahead of a five-match series against India and the winter’s Ashes commitments, by which time he will be 40.
Almost exactly two-thirds of his first-class wickets have come in an England shirt, although he has still managed 339 for Lancashire at an average of 21.63. Despite playing as a Test specialist since 2015, he also remains England’s leading wicket-taker in one-day internationals.
“It feels special to get the milestone here where I took my first wicket – it still sounds ridiculous to think I’ve taken 1000 wickets. I’ll look back on this in years to come and think more about it but right now spending time with the lads and the reaction from the crowd is special. Getting Ian Ward out here was something I’ll never forget – it was a lifelong dream to play for Lancashire. I’m away a lot with England and don’t get to play much for Lancashire so it makes that much more special to do it here and with a performance that helps the team. It’s a day I’ll never forget.
“To get 1000 wickets is becoming harder with the amount of cricket that is played across the world and it is getting less and less likely that it will happen again. I could potentially be the last person to do it which just adds to the feeling of it being very, very special.”