West Indies v England: 'Win more important than Anderson record'

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Flat track slowing progress - Ballance

Victory over West Indies in the first Test is more important than James Anderson breaking the England Test wicket record, says Gary Ballance.

England need eight wickets on the final day, with Anderson two short of passing Sir Ian Botham's tally of 383.

He failed to take a wicket as West Indies - set a notional 438 to win - closed day four in Antigua on 98-2.

"If we can get those eight wickets, that's more important - he'll even tell you that," said Ballance, who made 122.

Ex-England batsman Michael Vaughan on Test Match Special
"Gary Ballance is a class player. From the minute he arrived in Test match cricket, he came out of the blocks like a trooper. He has coped with pressure really well, and I'd expect him now to have an absolute belter of a series."

"It will be great if he could get those wickets on Friday, but if he doesn't it's going to happen some day. He's absolutely fine."

Anderson, who was involved in an animated discussion with captain Alastair Cook over field settings, was withdrawn from the attack after two overs.

The 32-year-old bowled five fruitless overs after tea, with fellow seamer Stuart Broad and part-time off-spinner Joe Root claiming the two wickets to fall in the 40 overs possible before the close.

"The wicket is pretty flat; it's not doing much," Ballance told BBC Sport. "You're not going to run through a batting order on this wicket.

"To get two wickets, we're pretty happy. It's going to be a tough day on Friday but we will be ready."

How's stat?!
Gary Ballance has scored four hundreds in his first nine Tests. Herbert Sutcliffe managed five, a record for England. Only two other players scored four: Andrew Strauss and Peter Parfitt.

Ballance, 25, converted his overnight 44 into a fourth century in only nine Tests, while Root hit 59 and Jos Buttler an unbeaten 59 off 56 balls to allow Cook to declare on 333-7.

Left-hander Ballance was dropped after scoring 36 runs in four innings during England's dismal World Cup campaign.

"It has been a tough winter and to get a hundred in the first Test back is a great feeling and will give me a bit more confidence," he said.

"I'm very delighted. It probably looked quite scratchy but I don't mind that. To score runs when the team need it is great."

Listen to Geoffrey Boycott and Jonathan Agnew review the fourth day's play on the Test Match Special podcast.

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