James Anderson is nearing the 600-wicket mark
James Anderson is nearing the 600-wicket mark Image Credit: AP

Dom Bess, the England spinner, insists veteran paceman James Anderson as the greatest English player of all time after the 38-year-old moved two wickets away from becoming the first pace bowler to claim 600 Test victims.

Anderson, England’s highest Test wicket-taker, claimed his fifth victim of the third Test against Pakistan on Sunday.


Only spin bowlers Muttiah Muralitharan (800) of Sri Lanka, Australia’s Shane Warne (708) and India’s Anil Kumble (619) have more wickets in the game’s longest format.

“He’s the GOAT of bowling and England’s greatest,” Bess said of Anderson.

“It’s phenomenal to stand at point and watch him nick people off, hit people on the shins and take as many poles as he does, so consistently.

“There was chat about a potential retirement (recently), then he comes back and absolutely tears it up. It just shows how good he is.”

England maintained their dominance on day three and ended Pakistan’s first innings on 273 runs and enforced the follow-on. Play was stopped due to bad light before Pakistan could bat again and Bess suggested that the players should have come off sooner.

“Playing in those conditions, we have to think a little about the players’ well-being. Their numbers 10 and 11 facing Jofra Archer in those conditions is seriously dangerous,” Bess said.

“We all want to get cricket on, but there has to be a little more common sense in terms of when it is too dark.” England lead the series 1-0 lead and are looking to seal their first Test series win over Pakistan since 2010. The hosts won the first match in Manchester by three wickets and the rain-hit second game ended in a draw.