'I'm glad Cookie was on the field for that wicket' - Emotional James Anderson pays tribute to best mate Alastair Cook
An emotional James Anderson admitted that the achievement in overtaking Glenn McGrath to become the most prolific fast bowler in Test history was made all the more special because his team-mate and best friend Alastair Cook was still on the field to witness it.
In turn, Cook lauded Anderson as "England's greatest cricketer" with only spinners Muttiah Muralitharan (800 Test wickets), Shane Warne (708) and Anil Kumble (619) now ahead of him.
In remarkable scenes at the end of a thrilling fifth day of the final Test at The Oval, Anderson reeled off a 14-over spell either side of tea to, first, slow India's onslaught as KL Rahul and Rishabh Pant combined in a brilliant 204-run stand for the sixth wicket, and then to seal victory by bowling Mohammed Shami for the final wicket of the match.
Shami's wicket was Anderson's 564th in Test cricket - taking him past Australia's McGrath in his 143rd Test - and it sealed a 118-run win for England, and a 4-1 series scoreline.
"I'm happy that Cookie was on the field to see that wicket, it's been a tough week," Anderson told Sky Sports, after he and Cook had left the field together for the 130th and final time in their combined Test careers.
"I'm just happy to win the game to be honest," he added. "I wasn't even thinking about it [the record]. When they were building that partnership it was looking like they were going to get close. My job was just to try and hold an end and I didn't think I'd end up bowling 14 overs from that end.
"But got into a really good rhythm and thankfully Joe [Root] let me take the new ball eventually and give me half a chance to take that wicket."
Asked what it meant to play his final match with Cook, after a 12-year England partnership that began on the tour of India in March 2006, Anderson had to choke back tears as he said: "He's my best mate. And he's been brilliant just to be there for me, all the time."
Speaking shortly afterwards, Cook admitted that the thought of no longer sharing such experiences with the likes of Anderson and Stuart Broad, who made his own Test debut in Colombo in December 2007, would be tough to accept.
"That was the hard bit," Cook told Sky Sports. "Even though the decision [to retire] was quite easy, I know that I'll never stand at first slip and take a catch off one of those two again."
"We have lived in each other's pockets for 12 years," he said of Anderson. "There was a picture of us, and Swanny, lying on a bed in India fast asleep, all three of us in exactly the same position and it just shows how close we've become, and it's been a privilege to play with, I think, England's greatest cricketer.
"No disrespect to any of the other guys, but his skill [is] to do it time and time again," he added. "You almost take it for granted that he'll hit a length from ball one, and when he doesn't you think, what's wrong? And it shouldn't be like that
"That spell today when it was a bit tight, I don't think he missed his length once outside off, and it's only fitting that he gets the wicket, knocks middle stump out, to win a Test for England."