England eventually wrapped up a 4-1 series win over India as Jimmy Anderson became the most successful Test fast bowler ever. England held off a brave effort from India to win the fifth Test at the Oval by 118 runs, with Anderson securing the crucial final wicket to take his Test total to 564, overtaking Glenn McGrath to hold the record for the most wickets ever by a pace bowler.
It marked a brilliant end to a fairytale Test for England after retiring batsman Alastair Cook’s earlier century had helped the home side into a dominant position, only for India to fight back superbly as they chased 464 to win.
The huge target seemed improbable but centuries from KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant on the final day of the series gave India hope before Adil Rashid’s stunning leg-break delivery dismissed Rahul and India fell from 325-5 to 345 all out.
Anderson and Cook will be remembered as the heroes of a remarkable Test and the former admitted it was an occasion that will live long in the memory.
He told BBC Sport: “It’s been an amazing series, one of the best I’ve been a part of. It’s been quite close. We’ve been up against it a lot and we’ve had to put hard yards in.
“It’s been hard graft. It’s been a real big stepping stone for this team. We’ve been inconsistent but it feels like we’re getting somewhere.”
The outgoing Cook was emotional afterwards after being named man of the match and paid tribute to Anderson.
“What a game of cricket, a great way to go,” he said. “I can’t describe what Jimmy must go through to do what he does. At tea he said ‘I think I’m in for a long spell here’. He’s the best cricketer England have ever produced.
“He’s an absolute freak. It’s been a pleasure to stand at slip for him.”