England news June 4, 2016

Anderson can break my Test record 'easily' - McGrath

ESPNcricinfo staff

James Anderson has been racking up the records over the past couple of years © Getty Images

Glenn McGrath, with 563 wickets, holds the record for most wickets by a fast bowler in Test cricket but he expects it to be broken by England's James Anderson.

Anderson has been climbing up the leader board since he passed Ian Botham's tally of 383 wickets against West Indies in April 2015 to become his country's most successful bowler. His 400th came the following month against New Zealand, and his latest - No. 451 - came during the course of three five-wicket hauls in four innings in the ongoing series against Sri Lanka.

Anderson, 33, has played 115 Tests and recently said he hoped to pass 500 wickets - something only two quicks, McGrath and Courtney Walsh, have done - as well as, fitness permitting, prolong his career until the 2019 Ashes series.

McGrath became famous for his regular Ashes whitewash predictions in favour of Australia but, in this case, he has backed the Englishman to ultimately surpass him, as he told cricket.com.au: "That's entirely up to him [Anderson]; if he stays on the park, then he can do that quite easily - and knock me off. And good luck to him. He's a quality bowler, there's no doubt about that. When he's firing and the ball's swinging, he's as tough [to face] as any bowler going around."

Anderson was ranked the No. 1 bowler in Tests by the ICC in May and his 295 wickets since 2010 is the highest tally by any bowler over the past six years. That a lot of those wickets came after he turned 30 indicated the effort he has put in to stay fit.

"Being a fast bowler is tough on the body, there's no doubt about it," McGrath said. "You have to stay fit and strong, and injury free. He's had a few issues in the past but he's come back well, and [how long he plays is] up to him now really. I was lucky enough to play through till I was 37, so I'm sure he's still got plenty of overs left in him."

The positive side of growing older as a fast bowler, according to McGrath, is learning to work batsmen out quicker and understanding the limits of your body better.

"You become a little bit more experienced and you know how to go about things," he said. "You learn how to recover, and out in the middle you know about taking wickets, creating pressure and setting batsmen up. I think you just know yourself better - the way you work and how you work at your best. Anderson would definitely know that now and would be making sure he's always recovering well."

Anderson is 68 wickets short of his nearest fast-bowling rival, Walsh, and 112 behind McGrath's mark. He will be hopeful of closing the gap with one Test left in the Sri Lanka series, followed by four home Tests against Pakistan in July and August, then seven Tests in the subcontinent against Bangladesh and India before the end of 2016.