Watch: Fans and James Anderson react to England’s shoddy fielding, ENG vs PAK

The third day of the England Pakistan test match at Southampton saw legendary English fast-bowler James Anderson come staggeringly close to picking his 600th test-wicket; only for his teammates to make a comical mess of the opportunity. A series of comical, catching slip-ups from his fellow English colleagues left him two-short of the coveted 600-mark. And fans couldn’t help but resonate with Jimmy’s, frustrated on-field expressions. 

After a lean outing in the first match of the series, Jimmy found his form back in the rain-marred second test and scalped three wickets. It was during the final session of the second day’s play in this match, though; that the 38-year-old, veteran Jimmy returned to his fire-breathing ways. His late-triple strikes early-on in the visitors’ innings ensured that they could never really reclaim their momentum. Those three wickets took his wicket tally up to 596, leaving him just 4-wickets short from the glorious accolade. Picking up 7-wickets in an innings is- by no means- a simple feat, but the way Jimmy kept coming at the batsmen, it seemed fairly inevitable.

Those sentiments only galvanized more strongly at the start of day three, when Asad Shafiq nicked one-off to Joe Root at first slip. Wicket-number 597 for Anderson. 3-more to go. 

Anderson 3-wickets away, fielders drop 3-catches

But it seems his English fieldsmen took that last part a bit too literally, letting each of his subsequent, wicket-opportunities go to waste. Coming into bowl with the second new-ball, Anderson got right back into the business with his incisive, swing-bowling; and produced thick-edges of Azhar Ali and Mohammad Abbas’ bat. But neither Rory Burns, nor Zak Crawley could hold on to those chances, making Anderson’s wait all the more-agonizing. 

But on the topic of dropped catches, the worst offender had to be Jimmy’s bowling partner, Stuart Broad himself. Azhar, batting on 129, flicked one to Stuart Broad at silly-mid-off. Should’ve been a sitter-catch, as is evident from the video- but Broad couldn’t time his motions well and lost the catch. Although to his credit, he did manage to run-out Abbas in that same-delivery; but from the expression of agony on Jimmy’s face, the accomplishment had lost much of its pride.

A few overs later, though, Dom Sibley managed to hold on to an edge off Naseem Shah’s bat; and Jimmy ended the first innings at 598-wickets. 2-short still- but with Joe Root deciding to send Pakistan batting again, seems closer than ever. That is, if the fielders would co-operate! Here’s what the fans had to say:

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