Skipper Joe Root paid rich tribute to James Anderson for becoming the most successful fast bowler in Test history and hoped he will continue to spearhead the English attack and terrorise batsmen in future.
Anderson overtook Australia’s Glenn McGrath to become the most successful fast bowler in Test history, with 564 wickets. He is behind Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619) in the list of Test bowlers with most wickets.
“What Jimmy has achieved and what he’s capable of achieving still is astounding really. He looked very determined - and when he’s in that mood, you want to just keep him going as long as possible,” Root said on Tuesday.
“For him to be in the same league as McGrath, and now chasing the big two spinners, is phenomenal. I think the most exciting thing is he’s bowling at his best and I can see that carrying forward for a long time still.
“I hope there’s going to be a number of series in the future where he is leading the attack, and terrorising batters,” Root said.
Anderson snapped the last wicket as India lost the fifth Test by 118 runs to hand England a 4-1 win in the five-match series.
Root said the series win over World No. 1 India signifies England are on an upward curve and hoped his Test team will emulate the ODI side and show consistency during the winter tours of Sri Lanka and West Indies.
“I think we are on an upward curve and have shown a lot of improvement throughout this summer. When we have had tough days and tough moments we have responded well to that,” he said.
“This winter will pose a lot of challenges and we can show some growth as a team and show some consistency like the one-day side have. It is a great chance to do that now. It has been a brilliant summer of Test cricket and it’s been a fabulous win.
“There are always areas where you are looking at improvement. Both sides top order have found things very difficult. It proves more than anything it has been challenging against the new ball on these surfaces. We have been very smart and made sure we have got to totals,” he added.
KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant scored centuries and put on 204 runs for the sixth wicket to raise visions of a fighting draw and an improbable Indian victory.
However, Rahul was bowled by a massive leg break from Adil Rashid to trigger a collapse.
“It was a brilliant delivery. Rashid has that in him that’s why we have him in the side, because he has the ability to change games, turn situations like that on their head,” Root said.
“Credit has to go to those two guys for the way they played in that middle session, they made it very difficult for us. We came off at tea with all three results still possible which for me shows Test cricket is in a really good place.
“I say that for the whole series, not just this game. It shows it’s very exciting, and for me it’s still the pinnacle of our sport,” said Root.
While Anderson took 564 wickets, Alastair Cook scored his 33rd Test century to finish his international career on a high and Root said it was a fitting end to the series.
“For Alastair to go out like that, and Jimmy to finish the game off in real style was so fitting for those two guys - who are really close mates. They’re going to miss playing with each other,” Root said.
“Few times this week I have asked him (Cook) whether he is sure he is making the right decision. I am just so pleased that he can go out in real style. I’m sure whatever he chooses to do next he will be great.”
Cook’s century was one of the many moments of celebration for England.
Root said: “It was an amazing reception (on his hundred) and a very fitting one as well. You could see how much it meant to him and his family. You saw his kids on the screen clapping and he nearly started tearing up,” he said.
“It all got a bit emotional in the middle. It shows how much he has meant to English cricket. To be out there and see that up and close I will savour that forever,” said the skipper.