Test-best Anderson bowls England to Windies series win

Test-best Anderson bowls England to Windies series win

Test-best Anderson bowls England to Windies series win

Joe Root tipped his England team to achieve something special in this winter's Ashes defence after they brushed aside West Indies with a three-day victory at Lord's and made it two series wins from two under his fledgling captaincy. James Anderson's career-best seven-wicket haul, which included his 500th in Tests, provided the excuse for champagne corks to pop early - though little excuse is needed here - and there was time to drink in the last of the Test summer, as Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley knocked off the runs required.

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 7/42 in 20.1 overs as the West Indies were dismissed for 177 in their second innings on the third day of the third Test.

Speaking after being beaten in the deciding Test against England at Lord's, Holder was encouraged with the way his side had pushed for what would have been a shock series victory. "It's been great", he said of his first summer in charge.

"But apart from those two players I don't think there's anybody else we can really look to".

England had to dig deep after second-Test defeats in each series, and Root added: "There were two hard weeks, but what is most pleasing is the resilience and character to come back from both of those with two extra strong performances".

"I'm very pleased. It's been a great week".

Stoneman and Dawid Malan are near-certainties to be chosen for the Ashes trip but Westley will contest with several others.

"Plenty of challenges lie ahead - but with those challenges come great opportunities", he said.

"We have all the attributes to go down there and put in a strong performance and get good results".

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England's catching has been rather less exemplary, with 16 drops in the series, and Root acknowledged that would be a focus ahead of their next engagement: Brisbane on November 23. "Across the summer, a number of guys have taken their forward", said Root.

"Guys that have been settled in the team keep kicking on and contributing consistently, and making themselves more of a presence in world cricket".

Then came his Test debut.

A bright dyed streak in his hair early in his career belied the fact that Anderson was then an nearly painfully shy and even slightly retiring figure.

Hope's resistance left England mulling how many they would be happy to chase, but they could not have asked for a better start.

"He said at the start of the summer, he's desperate to carry on playing as much as he can for England while he can and I think he has just shown what he is still capable of", Root said of Anderson.

35 - at 35 years and 40 days old, Anderson is the third-youngest man to reach 500 wickets. "He's one of the most skilful bowlers I've ever played with".

"The control he has with a ball that's doing a minimal amount and one that's hooping around is remarkable, how he can find the optimum amount of pace to work in different conditions and different surfaces - it's just relentless pressure for the batters". I spoke to him a while back.

West Indies' tail folded cheaply with Anderson, fittingly, ending the innings when he bowled Kemar Roach. James Anderson has been at the peak of his powers and Alastair Cook's form has been strong, including a double hundred at Edgbaston.

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