EDGBASTON: England have recalled fast-bowler Steven Finn to replace Stokes, revealed captain Alastair Cook yesterday.
Cook said there was still a slim chance England could play two spinners, by giving a home debut to leg-break bowler Adil Rashid in support of off-spinner Moeen Ali, if there was a marked change in pitch conditions between Tuesday and Wednesday’s toss at Edgbaston.
But with rain falling from grey skies above Edgbaston yesterday, Cook indicated that England would likely go in with an attack of four seamers plus Ali.
“Finny is coming in for Ben Stokes, and as we were. We’ve gone for a guy who’s got a proven Test record, who’s taken 120 wickets and has a knack of taking wickets,” Cook told reporters at Edgbaston. “Unless the pitch changes a lot from what I saw on Monday — we still have the right to change — we’ll be going with the four seamers and one spinner.”
Middlesex paceman Finn took a Test-best six for 79 against Australia at Edgbaston last year. “He has good memories here of last year,” said Cook. “He hasn’t quite been at his best this year — there have been a few factors in that, (but) physically he’s now better and has had a couple of things sorted out in the last week.”
Anderson keen to forge on despite drop in pace
Seamer James Anderson is confident he has enough skill and experience to compensate for his decreased pace over the remaining years of his cricket career.
England’s record Tests wicket-taker missed the opening Test defeat against Pakistan at Lord’s with a shoulder injury but returned for the second match in Manchester.
Anderson, who turned 34 over the weekend, took four wickets at Old Trafford as England levelled the four-match series with a 330-run victory but there was a discernable drop in pace for the bowler who has claimed 458 victims in 117 appearances.
“I didn’t feel like my speeds were where they could be at Old Trafford,” Anderson told reporters. “I felt a bit like Matthew Hoggard at the end of his career when he slowed down a bit but his control was pretty good.”
The Lancashire bowler feels the decrease in speed is no cause to panic. “With the skills I have, I can do a job even if my speeds did drop,” he said. “With experience, you can stay one step ahead in your head.”
Anderson has missed a few Test matches due to various injuries over the past year but the right-arm pacer still has the “hunger” to contribute for England, saying he continues to work hard on his fitness and technique.
“The way I feel at the moment, mentally, I’ve still got a hunger to play the game and a hunger to take wickets and help my team win matches,” added Anderson.
England selectors copped plenty of criticism for keeping Anderson out of the Lord’s test, which the hosts lost by 75 runs, when the seamer was fit to bowl in the nets ahead of the match and subsequently played for Lancashire against Durham.
But he has now defended that call. “Looking back, without having had any game time before that first Test, it was probably wise to get some overs under my belt,” Anderson said. “I think it was probably the right decision.”