James Anderson will have bittersweet memories of his week in Antigua, having become the leading Test wicket-taker in England’s history but failing to see them over the line against the West Indies.
The hosts lost just five wickets on the final day of the first Test to finish 350 for seven, with two of those falling at Anderson’s hand to send him past Sir Ian Botham’s 23-year-old record on his 100th appearance.
Anderson now stands alone at the summit on 384 scalps, but he could not fully enjoy the moment as Jason Holder scored a defiant 103 not out to force the draw.
The 32-year-old was able to recognise the significance of the milestone, not least when being congratulated by Botham as he left the field, but his competitive streak left him unfulfilled.
“Taking over from an English legend is a proud moment for me,” he said.
“My immediate thought was that we were back in the game, that we’d opened an end up to get a sniff of winning the game.
“But when we got together as a group and the guys started congratulating me it started to sink in then, which was nice.
“A lot of my mates were out there and great that my family were there too.
“But we tried everything out there to win the game: different fields, cutters, reverse swing.
“It’s frustrating in that respect, but I’m happy to have got that out of the way.”
It was fitting that Cook was stationed at slip to pouch the edge that took Anderson past the landmark, with the pair forming a strong on and off-field bond over their years in the side together.
“It’s not necessarily that he took the catch, just that he was on the field when I did it,” said Anderson.
“We’ve played a lot together and it means a lot, to him as well as me.
“But I wouldn’t have forgiven him if he’d dropped it.”
Anderson also revealed that Botham had promised him a celebratory drink when the pair return to England next month.
“I saw him as we left the field and he congratulated me, which was nice. He said something about alcohol and sharing a glass,” said Anderson.
“He could have made the effort and brought it out here but he says he’s got a nice bottle waiting at home, which is really kind of him.”
Cook was downcast at the sight of a Test win slipping through the fingers, but was pleased with what his side did throughout the five days.
The West Indian wickets have become notorious for the slow, attritional cricket they attract but Cook was surprised at just how little the deck offered in the closing stages.
“I think the whole dressing room has a bit of a downer on because we left everything on the pitch, as we had to do,” he said.
“I think you could start another Test match again on that wicket and it would last another five days. It didn’t deteriorate at all but we came close to winning a Test match on it.
“I wouldn’t swap much of what we did on a pretty docile wicket.
“We threw everything at the West Indies, we played a pretty good Test match and come up just a little short.
“It was probably a points victory but we go to Grenada now.”