NORTH SOUND, Antigua and Barbuda (AFP) - James Anderson became the leading wicket-taker in English Test cricket history, dismissing West Indies captain Denesh Ramdin after tea on the final day of the first Test at the Sir Vivian Richards Stadium in Antigua on Friday.
Having drawn level with the previous standard of 383 wickets set by flamboyant former all-rounder Sir Ian Botham earlier in the day when he dismissed Marlon Samuels, Anderson ended a period of growing frustration for himself and his team by having Ramdin caught by his England counterpart, Alastair Cook, at first slip.
That saw him reach 384 victims in what was already a celebratory 100th Test for the 32-year-old seam bowler.
"Great moment for Jimmy and his family..... Congratulations you deserve it .... Awesome !!" Botham said on Twitter.
Anderson's breakthrough was critical to England's chances of completing victory in this opening match of the three-Test series as it ended a stubborn 105-run partnership for the seventh wicket and left the West Indies, who were set the improbable victory target of 438, at 294 for seven and needing to survive for more than an hour with only three wickets in hand.
Anderson, who made his Test debut against Zimbabwe at Lord's in 2003, has been England's bowling spearhead for the past six years following the departure of key pacers like Steve Harmison, Matthew Hoggard and all-rounder Andrew Flintoff from the international scene.
His 384 wickets have come at the respectable average of 29.75 and with England just embarking on a period of intense activity involving 17 Tests over nine months, Anderson will be expected to surge past the landmark of 400 wickets and eventually establish a record that could be very hard to beat.
Anderson's county coach at Lancashire, Ashley Giles, the former England left-arm spinner, was quick to praise the quick.
"This is a tremendous achievement by Jimmy," Giles said. "To maintain such a high level of performance over such a long period of time is testament to his hard work and dedication. He is a fantastic ambassador for Lancashire and England and I am delighted for him."