In a match that ebbed and flowed for the entirety of its four-and-a-half days and contained enough subplots for an entire series, England finally secured a 14-run win in the third over after lunch at Trent Bridge.
It may not have been quite as close as the unforgettable two-run success at Edgbaston in 2005 — a match that featured an equally tense run chase — but a defiant last-wicket stand of 65 between Brad Haddin (71) and James Pattinson (25no) had brought the tourists within a few blows of a famous win.
Instead, the indefatigable Anderson wrapped things up with his fourth wicket of the day, fifth of the innings and 10th of the match.
In a week that has been defined by DRS referrals, their interpretation by third umpire Marais Erasmus and the use of them by the rival captains, it was fitting that England needed to go upstairs to have Haddin’s dismissal confirmed.
Had Cook frittered his two reviews away as easily as Australia have done at times here, the result may have been different.
At the close, a drained Cook was left to ponder Anderson’s heroics after he bowled 13 overs in a row in an energy-sapping morning burst and effectively finished Australia off on his own.
“We know all about Jimmy’s skill but his heart to keep running in on a hot day on a flat wicket was outstanding,” said Cook.
“When a bowler hits rhythm, you just keep asking him if he’s feeling all right. That’s the bottom line, so when your captain needs you to do it, you are physically fit to do it.”
Australia captain Michael Clarke felt his side could take something positive into the second Test, which begins on Thursday at Lord’s.
“We’ve probably proved to a few people that we’re here to compete — no doubt about it,” said Clarke.
“We’re disappointed we haven’t won this first Test, but I hope we’ve earned a bit of respect by the way we’ve played. Our team are going to give our all every time we take the field. We’re here to win this series.”