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Last Updated Wednesday June 20 2018 01:06 PM IST

Anderson terms entering 500-club as surreal

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In elite club England's James Anderson celebrates after cleaning up West Indies' Kraigg Brathwaite to claim his 500th Test wicket. Reuters

London: England seamer James Anderson described it as "surreal" as he became only the sixth bowler to take 500 Test wickets on Friday.

The 35-year-old Lancastrian, who began the third and final Test against the West Indies on Thursday with 497 wickets, ripped Kraigg Brathwaite's middle stump out of the ground with a textbook inswinger to reach the landmark in style.

Anderson, whose first wicket also came at Lord's against Zimbabwe in 2003, took his tally to 501 later with another unplayable delivery to bowl Kieran Powell.

A setting sun, purple clouds and the blazing Lord's floodlights provided a fittingly dramatic backdrop for Anderson's big moment which earned him a standing ovation.

"It feels good. It's a bit surreal. I can't believe I have this many wickets or I have played this much cricket. I'm a bit relieved to have it out of the way," he said.

"Ideally I'd have done it yesterday but, from the team's point of view, we bowled really well.

"It's a great place to bowl. I got my first wicket here and now I have my 500th. My family and friends were in the crowd."

Anderson is only the third pace bowler to take 500 Test wickets and is only 18 behind former West Indies great Courtney Walsh, the first bowler to reach the landmark.

Australia's Glenn McGrath is the other quickie on the list with 563 and Anderson hopes to get nearer to both of them.

"I'm loving it at the moment and want to keep playing as long as possible," he said. "If I can keep going for another two or three years I might get somewhere near."

Tributes poured in for Anderson, with former teammate Graeme Swann describing him as "a phenomenal talent".

"He was also born to bowl," Swann said. "He likes his records and milestones and is aware of his numbers at each ground, but his main drive is simply to take wickets."

Former England skipper Nasser Hussain added: "He's been a credit to his country and when he gets that ball in his hand there aren't many bowlers better than him."

Alec Stewart, another former England skipper, said: "We are talking about James Anderson, a world great. He is up there with McGrath, (Curtly) Ambrose, Walsh..."

Anderson's 501 wickets have come at an average of 27.7 with 330 wickets coming at home compared to 171 on foreign soil.

Former West Indies paceman Michael Holding said it was the only statistic that counted against Anderson.

"He's done exceptionally well in England, but he hasn't done so well away from home," Holding told Reuters.

"He uses the conditions here beautifully. He's in the list of all-time English greats with the volume of wickets but there are others who I would still rank higher."

The three leaders on the all-time list are Sri Lanka's off spinner Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Australian leg spinner Shane Warne (708) and Indian leggie Anil Kumble (619).

Read also: More Cricket News Warm up for Sunny Leone's next Mallu tango: co-owner of Kerala Cobras

The opinions expressed here do not reflect those of Malayala Manorama. Legal action under the IT Act will be taken against those making derogatory and obscene statements.

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