James Anderson’s Test record as England great prepares for Lord’s farewell

James Anderson will retire from Test cricket after England’s series opener against the West Indies.

The 41-year-old is the leading Test wicket-taker among seam bowlers, behind only spin greats Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne in the overall list.

Here, the PA news agency looks at his career record.


Bar chart showing the leading wicket-takers in Test cricket: Muttiah Muralitharan (Sri Lanka) 800 at an average of 22.73; Shane Warne (Australia) 708 at 25.42; James Anderson (England) 700 at 26.53; Anil Kumble (India) 619 at 29.65; Stuart Broad (England) 604 at 27.68; Glenn McGrath (Australia) 563 at 21.64; Nathan Lyon (Australia) 530 at 30.29; Courtney Walsh (West Indies) 519 at 24.45 and Ravichandran Ashwin (India) 516 at 23.75
James Anderson has the most wickets of any Test seamer (PA graphic)

Anderson and his long-time new-ball partner Stuart Broad are two of only five bowlers ever to take 600 or more Test wickets, a list headed by Sri Lanka star Muralitharan’s remarkable 800.

Warne is next up with 708 for Australia, with Anderson following on exactly 700, Anil Kumble 619 and Broad 604. Anderson’s average of 26.53 ranks third in that group behind Muralitharan (22.73) and Warne (25.42), with Broad at 27.68 and Kumble 29.65.

Anderson has 32 five-wicket hauls, 12 more than Broad but behind the three spinners and seventh overall in Test cricket. Muralitharan is again out in front with a scarcely believable 67, with Warne’s 37 ranking second among all Test bowlers. Kumble took 35.

Four other bowlers have taken over 500 wickets – Australia seamer Glenn McGrath and spinner Nathan Lyon with 563 and 530 respectively, West Indies great Courtney Walsh on 519 and India spinner Ravichandran Ashwin, who reached 516 after taking 26 in the five-Test series against England.

Anderson, Ashwin and Lyon are the only bowlers in the top 10 Test wicket-takers still playing.

Hundred at HQ

James Anderson celebrates taking the wicket of New Zealand's Peter Fulton at Lord's in 2013
Anderson has over 100 wickets at Lord’s (Anthony Devlin/PA)

Anderson will bow out at the ground where he has done most to build his wicket tally, with 119 wickets in 28 previous Lord’s Tests.

He is one of only four bowlers to take over 100 Test wickets at a single venue, with Muralitharan achieving the feat at three different grounds.

Muralitharan amassed 166 at Colombo’s SSC, 117 in Kandy and 111 at Galle, where fellow Sri Lanka spinner Rangana Herath took 102. Broad took 113 at Lord’s.

Vintage performer

James Anderson: Test bowling average pre- and post-2014
James Anderson has showed a dramatic improvement with age (PA graphic)

One of the more remarkable aspects of Anderson’s Test career is the way he has improved with age.

From the start of 2014, when he was already 31 with the wear and tear of 91 Tests as a new-ball paceman in his legs, he has more than doubled his tally of games and taken an astonishing 360 further wickets at 22.67 – almost eight runs better than his average in his first decade.

Only 23 bowlers including Anderson have that many wickets in their full Test career and, of those, only four have an average lower than his in that phase – West Indies greats Malcolm Marshall at 20.94 and Curtly Ambrose at 20.99, McGrath at 21.64 and New Zealander Sir Richard Hadlee 22.29.

That is boosted by Anderson’s 123 wickets at 24.08 since the start of 2020, despite passing his 40th birthday along the way.

Anderson, who will remain in the England set-up this summer as a fast bowling mentor, has played more Tests than any player other than India star Sachin Tendulkar (200).