London: James Anderson took the best innings figures of his Test career as England completed a nine-wicket and series-clinching victory against West Indies at Lord’s on Saturday.
Anderson followed up his Friday feat of becoming the first England bowler and only sixth in history to take 500 Test wickets by finishing with a return of seven for 42 in 20.1 overs as West Indies were dismissed for 177 in their second innings on the third day of the third Test.
That left England with a meagre target of 107 and they finished on 107 for one off 28 overs as they took the three-match series 2-1.
It was the second time this series England had won inside three days — they won the opener, the inaugural day/night Test in Britain, by an innings and 209 runs at Edgbaston last month.
Much of this match was a day/nighter in all but name and it was no surprise that batsmen on both sides struggled in overcast conditions against the red ball.
Mark Stoneman was 40 not out and Tom Westley 44 not out in an unbroken stand of 72.
“I’m very pleased. It’s been a great week. It was a challenging wicket,” England captain Joe Root told BBC Radio.
“The ball seemed to hoop around,” added Root, whose first season as Test skipper ended with two series wins after South Africa were beaten 3-1 in a preceding four-match campaign.
“In the second innings Jimmy (Anderson) was outstanding — he mastered it.
“I don’t know how he managed to get seven wickets with it.”
Anderson’s return just surpassed his previous best in 129 career Tests of seven for 43 against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2008.
– ‘Live in the memory’ –
“Playing a Test match here is always special but this week will live in my memory,” said the 35-year-old Anderson, who made his Test debut at Lord’s in 2003.
“I didn’t think I’d play anywhere near as much for England,” added the Lancashire swing bowler.
But it was England all-rounder Ben Stokes who was named man-of-the-match after taking a Test-best six for 22 in West Indies’ first innings 123 and then top-scoring with 60 when the hosts made 194 in reply.
Shai Hope, whose twin hundreds were the backbone of West Indies’ series-levelling win at Headingley, top-scored for the tourists on Saturday with 62.
But Hope’s fourth ball after lunch saw him caught behind undone off a superb Anderson leg-cutter.
West Indies’ tail folded cheaply with Anderson, fittingly, ending the innings when he bowled Kemar Roach.
For the second time in the match, Anderson walked off to a standing ovation from a capacity Lord’s crowd.
Leg-spinner Devendra Bishoo struck with his first ball to have Alastair Cook (17) lbw but that merely denied England a 10-wicket victory.
Play started Saturday in bright sunshine but despite the improved batting conditions, it only needed four balls for Anderson to take another wicket.
Bowling from the Nursery End, where the eight-foot slope across the ground naturally takes the ball away from a right-handed batsman’s off stump, Anderson found Roston Chase’s edge and wicket-keeper Jonny Bairstow held a simple catch.
Chase was out for his overnight three and West Indies were 94 for four.
Jermaine Blackwood, dropped on two and reprieved from lbw on four, fell for five when caught behind off Anderson.
Hope, 35 not out overnight, took 54 balls to score his first boundary on Saturday but a cover-drive off Stokes was worth the wait.
A four off his legs against Toby Roland-Jones, bowling on his Middlesex home ground, then saw West Indies man-of-the-series Hope to a 127-ball fifty including eight boundaries as the 23-year-old Barbados batsman produced another significant contribution.
“It’s a tough place to play cricket, it’s good to get some runs under my belt,” said Hope.
Meanwhile West Indies captain Jason Holder was encouraged by the progress of his side.
“I’m really proud of the guys,” he said. “I’ve seen a lot of fight which I haven’t seen for a long time.
“In recent series, we’ve won games away from home and we’ve really competed. We’re not too far away from clinching a series win.”