England v Pakistan: James Anderson backed to return to form by Joe Root

England v Pakistan: James Anderson backed to return to form by Joe Root

By Matthew Henry

BBC Sport at the Ageas Bowl

Anderson has taken 590 wickets in 154 Tests
Second Test: England v Pakistan
Venue:Ageas Bowl, SouthamptonDate:Thursday, 13 August
Coverage:Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 4 LW, BBC Sounds, and BBC Sport website & app with live text commentary & in-play highlights (UK only). Highlights each evening on BBC TV and iPlayer

England bowler James Anderson has been backed by captain Joe Root to return to “the peak of his powers”.

Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, is set to keep his place for the second Test against Pakistan, which starts on Thursday.

The 38-year-old returned match figures of 1-97 in last week’sfirst Testand on Mondaydenied speculation he could retire, calling the suggestion unfair.

Root said you question Anderson’s ability “at your own peril”.

“It would be very silly for us to write someone like Jimmy off,” said Root.

“He is still as dedicated as ever, is working very hard on his game and is looking very good in practice.”

Anderson has taken six wickets in three Tests this summer and needs 10 more to become the first fast bowler to take 600 in Tests.

Root said he and Anderson had “honest conversations” during the first Test at Old Trafford about the bowler’s frustrations.

“To get that off his chest and to talk about it has helped him,” Root said.

“With Jimmy we know it won’t be long until he is back at the peak of his powers.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing him perform this week.”

Victory at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton will secure England a first series win over Pakistan in 10 years.

The hosts have made one change to their squad with uncapped Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson, 26, replacing all-rounder Ben Stokes, who will miss the match and the series finale afterflying to New Zealand for family reasons.

Batsman Zak Crawley will likely replace Stokes in the batting order, but Root said he would not confirm his starting XI until the toss.

Robinson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Mark Wood, plus spinner Dom Bess, are all in contention to join Anderson in the bowling attack.

Root said Stokes’ absence is a “huge loss” but challenged other members of the team to step up.

“For a long period of time he has been arguably our best player,” Root said.

“He offers so much in

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