Anderson milestone is some Perth consolation

Few England players will take happy memories from the pummelling they received from Australia in Perth, but at least James Anderson had the consolation of taking his 200th Test wicket.

At 28, he became the second youngest England player to do so, although he is almost three years older than Ian Botham was when he completed his double century.

However, Anderson remains on course to overtake Brian Statham and Andrew Flintoff, the other two Lancastrians to have achieved the feat, as the county’s most successful Test bowler ever.

He is now only 19 behind Flintoff’s final tally of 219, the all-rounder having broken 200 in his 70th Test appearance at home to South Africa in 2008, at the age of 30.

Statham took 252 wickets in his 70 Test appearances, and also reached his 200 in an Ashes Test – in his case on home territory, at Lord’s, when he dismissed the Australia opener Colin McDonald in the second Test of the 1961 series, a game which England also lost.

“George” had just turned 31 at the time, and was playing in his 57th Test – two more than it has taken Anderson. So the Burnley Express has plenty of time to overtake that final tally of 252 – although he will struggle to do so at Statham’s final average of 24.8, or with the famously high proportion of bowled and lbw victims that were the result of his “you miss, I hit” approach to bowling.

Still, for Anderson to be approaching Statham’s milestones shows what a rare talent his is, and what an exalted place in Lancastrian cricketing history he is already guaranteed to occupy.

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