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James Anderson becomes England's most-capped player in Test cricket

Anderson surpassed the mark of 161 Tests he shared with retired former England captain Alastair Cook

James Anderson becomes England's most-capped player in Test cricket PHOTO: Reuters

James Anderson has added to his list of record-breaking achievements by becoming England's most-capped Test cricketer, yet when he made his debut in 2003 the Lancashire swing bowler thought he "wasn't good enough".

Anderson surpassed the mark of 161 Tests he shared with retired former England captain Alastair Cook, a close friend, after being included in the hosts' side for the second and deciding match against New Zealand at Edgbaston on Thursday.

His current tally of 616 Test wickets is the most by any England bowler, as well as being more than any other paceman in the history of the game.

The 38-year-old's longevity is all the more remarkable given he is a seam bowler, a far more physically demanding task then that of being a spinner or an opening batsman like Cook.

Anderson's career has been defined by his skill as much as by his endurance, however.

That makes his memory of his opening spell in Test cricket, against Zimbabwe at Lord's 18 years ago, all the more striking, especially as it led to the first of 30 five-wicket hauls.

"I thought I wasn't good enough," Anderson recalled. "My first ball was a no-ball so there were a lot of nerves there and I did feel like this was maybe a step too far for me at that point.

"No disrespect to Zimbabwe but playing against teams like South Africa and Australia and India -- once you put in performances against the top teams in the world, that's when you can feel like you can actually perform at that level."

- 'Godsend' -

A stress fracture kept Anderson, who had been reduced to bowling at cones during practice sessions, out of action as England assembled the pace attack of Stephen Harmison, Matthew Hoggard, Andrew Flintoff and Simon Jones that would help them win the celebrated 2005 Ashes series.

Anderson's distinctive action was also subjected to some unwelcome interference by England backroom staff.

"I'm proud of the fact that I've overcome little hurdles throughout my career and they've made me stronger," said Anderson.

"That stress fracture was probably a godsend. It made me go back to my old action and since then I've felt really comfortable and got more consistent."