Published:  01:22 AM, 13 September 2018

England wrap up 4-1 win against India

England wrap up 4-1 win against India James Anderson (C) has helped take the final India wicket to help England win their Test series 4-1. -AP

A compelling series kept giving right until the very last ball as James Anderson sealed England's 118-run victory over India with a wicket that made him the most successful fast bowler in the history of test cricket on Tuesday.

Audacious centuries from KL Rahul (149) and Rishabh Pant (114) had given India hope of saving the fifth test and even reaching the target of 464 that was required for a remarkable victory but the day eventually belonged to Anderson.

With less than an hour remaining and India teetering on 345-9, the 36-year-old Anderson was finally rewarded for a long spell as he ripped out Mohammed Shami's middle stump. It was Anderson's 564th test wicket - one more than retired Australian great Glenn McGrath managed - and left him fourth on the all-time list behind spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (800), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619).

There could not have been a more fitting conclusion to an incredible few days at the historic south London ground that on Monday witnessed Anderson's close friend Alastair Cook sign off his record-breaking career with an emotional century.

They walked off together to a standing ovation on Tuesday and Anderson was close to tears as he spoke of his achievement. "Happy that Cooky was on the field to see that wicket, it's been a tough week," Anderson, who played the first of his 143 tests in 2003, said.

"I'm just happy to win the game. I wasn't even thinking about the record. When India were building that partnership it was looking like they were going to get close. "But I got into a good rhythm and thankfully (Joe) Root let me take the new ball and gave me a chance to take that wicket."

Only if Cook had taken the final catch off of Anderson's bowling could the summer have had a more fitting end. Cook, England's most-capped test player and run scorer, led the tributes for his old pal.

"(It has) been a privilege to play with England's greatest cricketer, no disrespect to any other guys, his skills to do it time and time again," he said. "He didn't miss his length once." India, the world's top-ranked test nation, may have lost the series 4-1 but could walk off with their heads held high.

Anderson's two wickets in four balls on Monday, together with strike partner Stuart Broad's first-ball dismissal of Indian run machine Virat Kohli, had left India on a precarious 2-3 and facing an impossible salvage operation. Rahul, who began the day on 46 not out, reached his first half-century of the series in the day's opening over, flicking Anderson off his legs for a boundary.

-Reuters, London

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