James Anderson closes in on 600 Test wickets before bad light frustrates England

James Anderson moved to 598 Test wickets with a five-wicket haul before bad light halted his march towards 600 and England’s push for victory on day three of the series-decider against Pakistan.

Anderson’s bid to become the fourth member of the exclusive club, and the first fast bowler, got off to a perfect start when he removed Asad Shafiq with his sixth ball of the morning to go to 597 career scalps.

Pakistan captain Azhar Ali then led a spirited fightback, making a fine 141 not out to raise his side from the doldrums of 75 for five to their final total of 273 all out – with Anderson wrapping up figures of five for 56.

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By that point he had already seen three catches go down in the space of 10 deliveries, Azhar spilled by Rory Burns and Stuart Broad while Zak Crawley grassed Mohammad Abbas.

England’s fielders might well have been hindered by the fading visibility, with the floodlights at the Ageas Bowl clearly taking over in the middle, and, once England enforced the follow-on with a towering 310 run lead, it was the dark skies which stopped them going again.

Both teams had returned to the field, with Anderson desperate to get another chance at the top order, but umpires Michael Gough and Richard Illingworth could not allow them to begin the innings.