James Anderson’s bid for 600 Test wickets and England’s push for final Test win frustrated by rain

James Anderson’s pursuit of a 600th Test wicket and England’s hopes of pushing for victory on the final day of the third #raisethebat Test against Pakistan got off to a frustrating start as heavy rain delayed play at The Ageas Bowl.

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Anderson ended day four on 599 career scalps after removing Abid Ali (42) just before bad light intervened on Monday evening. Persistent showers overnight and in the morning left the outfield saturated as the planned 11am start came and went, while a first pitch inspection is not planned until after lunch at 1.40pm.

One more wicket would make Anderson just the fourth player in history to reach 600 Test wickets and the first fast bowler to do so, following spinners Muttiah Muralitharan, Shane Warne and Anil Kumble. If he fails to reach the milestone in Southampton he faces a lengthy wait for another chance, with no Test cricket planned until the new year and wider uncertainty over touring schedules amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Pakistan’s innings is paused at 100-2 a deficit of 210 after being asked to follow-on, with England hoping for enough playing time to get the eight wickets they need to seal a 2-0 series win.

At close of play on day four, head coach Chris Silverwood spoke of his hopes that both Anderson and the team would get the perfect finish they wanted after more than two months in a bio-secure bubble.

“I want to win the game first and foremost but to finish strongly and see Jimmy get his 600th would be fantastic,” said Silverwood.

“We’re all aware of the milestone Jimmy is looking at but he’ll get there. It would be brilliant to see him get over the line here. If we get an opportunity, we’ll go for it.

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