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England v Sri Lanka, 3rd Test | Anderson confident of Rose Bowl return

James Anderson

James Anderson insists he is feeling “fine” and is confident he will be fit to return to England duty at the Rose Bowl on Thursday. Anderson was due to prove his fitness during Lancashire’s Twenty20 match against Worcestershire at New Road on Sunday but the game was abandoned without a ball bowled due to persistent rain.

“Getting my four overs of action would have helped that bit more, but unfortunately it’s not to be,” Anderson told Sky Sports News. “I’d quite like to get the overs under my belt because a match situation’s very different to bowling in the nets. Unfortunately it’s not going to happen, but I feel fine and hopefully I’ll be fit for Thursday’s Test.”

Anderson bowled 28 overs in the first innings of the first Test against Sri Lanka at Cardiff, removing the experienced trio of Kumar Sangakkara, Mahela Jayawardene and Thilan Samaraweera. He batted as nightwatchman in England’s first innings, but took no part in the England’s dramatic victory on the final day after picking up a Grade 1 side strain, and missed the second Test at Lord’s.

“It was a very minor [strain]. I think it was more precautionary and if I’d carried on bowling in the Cardiff game it could have got a lot worse. Hopefully there’ll be a bit more in the pitch at Southampton. It looked like a tough five days for the lads there. You never know what you’re going to get with the pitch, and they’ve never had a Test before so it’ll be interesting what we get there.

“We didn’t bowl as well as we’d have liked over the last five days, but certainly over the last couple of years we’ve been fantastic with the ball so it’s just about getting back to what’s made us so successful in the last couple of years.”

Anderson replaced Surrey’s Jade Dernbach in England’s squad for the third Test and appears set to resume his role as leader of the bowling attack at the expense of either Steven Finn or Stuart Broad. Both Finn and Broad played alongside Chris Tremlett in the second Test, but with three tall hit-the-deck bowlers the lack of variety in England’s attack was exposed and Tillakaratne Dilshan scored an excellent 193.

“He [Anderson] bowled extremely well at Cardiff and is a fine, top-class bowler,” national selector Geoff Miller told BBC Radio 5 Live. “You always miss quality bowlers. But it is not just about one individual, it’s about a squad of bowlers and people coming into the side for injuries.

“When you start being a successful international side you do have to make these difficult decisions so we’ll wait and see what conditions are like down in Southampton and make the decision accordingly. That is what we are all about: strength in depth.

“Jimmy can pitch it up and swing [the ball],” added Miller. “The others are tall, bouncing bowlers and you are always looking for options because conditions alter and change and sometimes you need that difference. Jimmy is an extremely good exponent of that art.”


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