James Anderson celebrates his 599th Test wicket on day four against Pakistan
James Anderson’s quest to become the first fast bowler to take 600 Test wickets continues as a combination of rain, bad light and dogged Pakistan batting held up England on day four of the third #raisethebat Test at The Ageas Bowl.
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Anderson (1-18), starting the day on 598 wickets, finally claimed his 599th in his 11th over of a day hampered by rain, trapping Abid Ali (42) lbw to break up a determined second-wicket stand between him and his skipper Azhar Ali (29no).
Anderson was able to get one more over in before bad light intervened and forced England to bowl spin at both ends; Pakistan ultimately closing the day on 100-2, still some 210 runs behind as they look to bat out for a draw on the final day.
Of concern to England, and Anderson, is that the weather forecast for Tuesday is poor, with more rain expected in Southampton similar to the deluge that took the players off 18 overs into the fourth day’s play.
Anderson, who had three dropped catches off his bowling on the third evening as Pakistan were made to follow on, saw another shelled in the morning’s mini session, with Jos Buttler putting down Shan Masood on three.
Masood (18), dismissed eight times previously by Anderson in his career, made the most of the reprieve as he and opening partner Abid safely negotiated their way towards Pakistan’s first fifty opening stand in England since 1996, only for the former to fall one run shy of the mark.
It was Stuart Broad (1-23) who got the breakthrough as the players returned for an extended final session following a four-hour delay, pinning Masood in front not playing a shot.
It did not bring the desired clatter of wickets for the hosts, though, with very little in the way of encouragement for the bowlers until the ball started to reverse around the 46-over mark.
It prompted Joe Root to bring Anderson on for a third spell of the day and he duly struck in his second over back, nipping one back into Abid that was shown to be clipping leg stump on ‘umpire’s call’.
His 600 milestone moment would not come, however, as bad light and then some further rain caused play to be abandoned early and again left Anderson waiting.
In other news, England’s Ollie Pope left the field nursing a ‘sore left shoulder’, with the ECB adding that ‘there are no plans for him to return in the immediate future’ as his injury is assesed.
Watch day five of the third and final #raisethebat Test between England and Pakistan live on Sky Sports Cricket from 10.30am on Tuesday.
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