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James Anderson’s 7-42 seals series win at Lord’s

James Anderson took a career-best 7-42 to lead England to a series-clinching nine-wicket victory over West Indies in the third and deciding Test at Lord’s.

Anderson, who took his 500th Test wicket on Friday, claimed five more on day three as West Indies were bowled out for 177, despite 62 from Shai Hope.

Set 107, England were taken to their target by an unbroken stand of 72 between Mark Stoneman and Tom Westley.

The 2-1 series win follows a 3-1 success against South Africa.

Not only does it extend an unbeaten home record against West Indies that dates back to 1988, but also sends England off on their defence of the Ashes on the back of two Test series wins in Joe Root’s first summer as captain.

England play one Twenty20 and five one-day internationals against the Windies to conclude the home summer before travelling to Australia in October.

When England hammered a woeful West Indies in the day-night Test at Edgbaston, the series looked likely to be neither a spectacle nor decent preparation for a trip down under.

However, a wonderful display by the tourists in the second Test at Headingley not only restored some faith in the Caribbean side as a Test force, but also set up the pressure situation of a series decider at Lord’s.

In the end, the low-scoring affair in bowler-friendly conditions has seen England prove themselves as the superior team, even if the scarcity of runs has done little to help the hosts further their search for top-order batsmen.

Opener Stoneman and number five Dawid Malan have probably done enough to ensure their places in an Ashes squad that is due to be announced when the domestic season finishes at the end of September.

The place of number three Westley is less certain, with the likes of Haseeb Hameed, Keaton Jennings and Alex Hales looking for runs in the final weeks of the County Championship in order to press their claims.

After the celebrations of becoming only the sixth bowler to reach 500 Test wickets on the second evening, Anderson found himself in trouble with umpire Marais Erasmus for encroaching on to the pitch in his follow-through.

Two warnings left him on the brink or being removed from the attack and necessitated a switch from the Pavilion End to the Nursery End.

However, that only helped the 35-year-old Lancastrian move the ball down the slope and he found the edge of Roston Chase’s bat with the fourth delivery of the morning.

Jermaine Blackwood fell in similar fashion, leaving the impressive Shai Hope, the leading runscorer in the series and the last of the recognised batsmen to defy England almost single-handedly.

It took a special delivery to remove the 23-year-old, angled in and nipping away to give a third catch of the day to wicketkeeper Jonny Bairstow and, after that, West Indies were as good as beaten.

Devendra Bishoo and Kemar Roach were both bowled as Anderson bettered the 7-43 he took against New Zealand at Trent Bridge in 2008. The 39 Test wickets he took this season are the most he has taken in a home Test summer.

If England are looking for improvements to make for their defence of the Ashes, catching would probably be included on the list.

Punished for drops at Headingley, their victory here may have come sooner had they not spilled three chances of varying difficulty in the morning session.

Stuart Broad put down the most straightforward at mid-off and missed a tough, diving caught-and-bowled opportunity, while Alastair Cook shelled a sharp one at gully off Moeen Ali. Both sides dropped 26 catches between them in the series.

That, though, is a less of a concern when compared to England’s batting, even if Stoneman and Westley were assured in navigating England to their target.

Left-hander Stoneman was strong square of the wicket on both sides to follow up the maiden half-century he made in the second Test with an unbeaten 40 that included the winning runs.

Westley arrived after Cook was pinned lbw by the spin of Bishoo and characteristically favoured mid-wicket as well as playing attractive cover drives in 44 not out, his first double-figure score in six attempts. (Courtesy BBC)

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