Photo Credit: Pakistan Cricket Board
James Anderson moved to 599 Test wickets and Abid Ali displayed swift resistance with his 162-ball 42 on the penultimate day of the third and final Test between England and Pakistan at the Ageas Bowl.
All eyes were on the 38-year-old as he renewed his quest to become just the fourth bowler in history to reach the landmark, and the first paceman, but he was only able to add one more scalp on a day affected by bad weather.
Pakistan were 100 for two in their follow-on, still 210 behind but scrapping hard for the draw.
Anderson saw Shan Masood’s edge inexplicably put down by wicketkeeper Jos Buttler in his third over of the morning and, following a lengthy rain break, did not open his account until shortly after 6pm when he trapped Abid LBW.
With the floodlights on and the clouds gathering he looked a certainty to grab another before the close but the light faded quickly enough for the umpires to call for spin at both ends before leading the teams off shortly after.
Anderson’s first five-over burst was typically tidy, costing just nine runs including a set of four overthrows from substitute fielder James Bracey, who was an early replacement for the injured Ollie Pope. Crucially, though, there were no further chances as Anderson and his fellow seamers came up short.
Rain forced the teams off at 12.15pm, initially a light spray and then an almighty deluge that ensured no further play until 3.45pm.
The opening stand had put on 49 runs, eaten up plenty of time and carefully kept Anderson out of the spotlight. On another day the glare might have been on Bess, who has been lightly used since being named as the country’s first-choice spinner.
Here he was given a decent workout and the kind of game situation that he will need to master if he is to hold the role in the long-term. There was nothing overly loose, no big drag downs or unmissable half-volleys, but while his figures stayed tidy he was not able to generate any consistent pressure.
Jofra Archer also remained wicketless for the match but conceded less than a run per over as Abid and Azhar retreated further into defence. Anderson eventually had cause to celebrate deep in an extended final session, finding a hint of swing and a slightly lower bounce to trap Abid for 42.
It was a tight call, but Anderson had earned a slice of luck. It did not last, with the murky conditions restricting him to just eight more balls before stumps were pulled.
Scores in brief:
England 583-8d, 154.4 overs (Zak Crawley 267, Jos Buttler 152, Chris Woakes 40, Joe Root 29, Dom Bess 27 not out, Dom Sibley 22; Shaheen Shah Afridi 2-121, Yasir Shah 2-173)
Pakistan 273 all-out, 93 overs (Azhar Ali 141 not out, Mohammad Rizwan 53, Fawad Alam 21, Yasir Shah 20; James Anderson 5-56, Stuart Broad 2-40) and 100-2, 56 overs (Abid Ali 42, Azhar Ali 29 not out)