Anderson started the first Test against New Zealand on 298 and needed only 22 balls to reach his milestone in front of his parents, who had travelled down from Burnley for the weekend. Hamish Rutherford was caught at first slip by Alastair Cook in his first over and Peter Fulton snapped up by Graeme Swann at second slip in his fourth. "It was nice to see him hold on to one," Anderson joked of his great mate. He later claimed the key scalp of Ross Taylor to move to 301 after the former New Zealand captain had stroked the first half-century of an otherwise dour and attritional first Test of the summer, leaving Anderson only six behind Fred Trueman, who was the first bowler to reach 300 in 1964. Bob Willis is second on England's all-time list with 325, and Botham, who was the last man to pass 300 in 1984, remains well in the distance on 383.
But after congratulating Anderson on his achievement on the Lord's outfield as he returned to the pavilion for tea, Botham said: "I've already told him that his next target should be 384, then 400 and maybe 450 – although he wasn't so keen on the last one when I mentioned it to him."
Anderson does not turn 31 until July and Willis, who was also on the outfield, added: "Fred Trueman famously said that anyone else who got 300 wickets would be very tired, but Jimmy doesn't look too tired to me."
"Yeah, I'm feeling OK actually," Anderson later confirmed. "I'm not getting that old yet and I think I've got a few more in me. I'm happy I've got it [the 300] – I was in touching distance in New Zealand but obviously it didn't happen there, and being two away you just want to get it out of the way."
Asked about the possibility of overhauling Botham's record, he responded: "I don't see why not. But there's still a long way to go, and I'll have to play a lot of cricket to get there. I won't think about it, I'll just concentrate on staying fit."
Anderson presented the ball to all corners of the ground as he received a standing ovation. It was the highlight of another disappointing day for England, who lost six wickets for 40 to slump to 232 all outas Matt Prior and Stuart Broad, the heroes of England's famous rearguard action to salvage a draw from the three-Test series in New Zealand earlier in the year, were dismissed for ducks in consecutive overs. Prior later denied Anderson his 302nd wicket when he dropped Kane Williamson, who ended unbeaten on 44 out of 153 for four.
guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010