By Matt Somerford
Anderson produced the innings of his life – and the greatest 10th-wicket stand in 137 years of Test cricket – to send records tumbling and offer England the slightest hope of victory on the final day tomorrow.
Their stand of 198 beat the previous world mark – set by Ashton Agar and Phil Hughes on this ground almost a year ago to the day – while Anderson pocketed the highest score by an England number 11 as he hit 81.
Even more significantly the partnership dragged England to an unlikely 39-run first-innings lead that not only ushered their team into safer waters – after starting the day 105 runs adrift – but also offered hope victory could be achieved.
“Yeah it’s an amazing achievement. We still can’t quite believe it really,” Anderson told ecb.co.uk.
“At the start of the day we were just thinking about trying to get the team back into the game. We were still under a bit of pressure, behind the eight-ball in the game, so we thought we’ve got to try and bat time and get ourselves back into the game.
“The more we got going and the partnership built I thought we really enjoyed it. We did really well to get where we got to.”
Anderson admitted the thought of becoming the first Test number 11 to hit a century had crossed his mind during the lunch break.
He failed, however, to add to his score thereafter, leaving Root unbeaten on 154, when he edged Bhuvneshwar Kumar to Shikhar Dhawan at first slip.
“I’d like to say no, but I probably was (thinking about the century)," said Anderson, whose highest score in competitive cricket had been the 49 he hit for Burnley in club cricket a decade ago.
“Having batted for that length of time and to be 19 runs away, which is obviously a position I’ve never been in before, I thought about it for a little bit.
“I’m still just delighted with what I got to be honest.”
While a draw is the most likely result, India are set to resume tomorrow morning on 167 for three – and a lead of 128 runs – with work to do with the bat.
Two wickets in as many balls late in the day – when Murali Vijay and Cheteshwar Pujara exited after easing to half-centuries – kept home belief alive.
“It shows if you get one they generally come in clusters on a wicket like that,” Root said.
“Fingers crossed we can get a few early ones and you never know how it can go.”
Root’s fourth Test century was almost lost amid the cavalcade of records that fell during an extraordinary morning session.
The Yorkshireman had been on 50 when Anderson joined him at the crease last night, but his team-mate's defiance allowed him to reach three figures.
Understandably he raced straight to the number 11 to offer a hug of thanks when he reached his century, with successive boundaries.
“I wouldn’t have been able to do it without Jimmy’s help,” he said.
“The way he played there was fantastic. We were just thinking about whittling down that total as much as we could and getting as close to them as possible.
“To then go on and go past them was brilliant. We’ve got a small chance of going on tomorrow and getting a few early wickets and putting them under some real pressure.”