Lancashire seamer stands on the brink of history 18 years after winning first Test cap against Zimbabwe in 2003; Anderson began his Test career with a no-ball but has gone on to take 30 five-wicket hauls in Tests as well as 10 or more wickets in a match three times
Check out some of James Anderson’s highlights in an England shirt as he gets set to become their most-capped Test cricketer of all time
Joe Root says it will be a “huge” moment to witness James Anderson become England’s most-capped Test cricketer.
Anderson, 38, is in line to overtake Sir Alastair Cook’s mark of 161 Test appearances on Thursday when England and New Zealand contest the second Test at Edgbaston.
The achievement comes nearly two decades after Anderson made his debut in 2003 under captain Nasser Hussain, who will interview the seamer on Sky Sports ahead of the start of play.
Some 616 Test victims later, Root says he’s in awe of England’s leading wicket-taker of all time.
“It will be a very special occasion to witness,” Root told Sky Sports.
“To see someone break that record is huge; for him to do it as a fast bowler in particular, just shows his skill level and the longevity of his ability over a period of time.
Anderson is the English equivalent of West Indies great Malcolm Marshall with the way he works out batsmen, says Alex Tudor
“His fitness levels, his desire to keep going and to keep putting his body through that – and what a great player for young guys to come in and learn off as well, to talk to about fast bowling and the art of swing bowling.
“So it’s going to be a fabulous occasion in many respects and one that I’m very much looking forward to.”
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Anderson’s 616 Test wickets have come at a cost of 26.58 apiece
New Zealand’s seam ranks are likely to be bolstered by the return of Trent Boult, who was initially due to miss the England series following a post-IPL break.
However, the 31-year-old has completed his mandatory isolation period after joining the squad last week and brings with him a wealth of experience earned from 71 caps.
“I think he’s clever – I think he’s a smart bowler,” said Root. “I think he’s got a number of different skills and he’s found ways of exploiting different conditions around the world.
“He’s very experienced now and he’s got experience of bowling in the UK with the Dukes ball as well. Of course, his record speaks for itself and we’ll have to find ways of countering his threat.
“He swings the new ball and brings the stumps into play a lot, so we just have to make sure that we are ready for the challenges that he poses and when we do get our opportunities to score that we are ready to take those chances.”
New Zealand’s Trent Boult takes part in a nets session at Edgbaston
Boult told reporters that this match and the inaugural ICC World Test Championship final against India are very much on his radar after a short break.
“I’ve had the luxury of continually playing cricket all through the New Zealand summer as well as the IPL, so I haven’t really stopped apart from a couple of isolation periods there in between,” he said.
“But the body feels good and I’m excited at the prospect of playing a couple of Tests.
“I don’t think I can go to a Test match and I can only do X, Y and Z. So now I’m here to play the full part and really looking forward to it.”
Watch day one of the second Test between England and New Zealand, live on Sky Sports Cricket and Sky Sports Main Event from 10am on Thursday.