Is Anderson the right man to lead England’s bowling attack?

Posted: Thursday, June 16, 2011 by Sanya Michelangelo in Labels: , , , , , , , ,

England have named James Anderson in their squad for the third npower Test against Sri Lanka at the Rose Bowl on Thursday.

The Lancashire paceman, who missed the draw at Lord’s after picking up a side strain in the first Test at Cardiff,  is the sports betting favourite to return to the side at the expense of Middlesex fast bowler Steven Finn.

Anderson, the leader of England’s attack, will shore up the bowling options at captain Andrew Strauss’ disposal after a wayward display at the home of cricket. The bowling attack offered plenty of height, but with the slope causing problems, the bowlers were wayward and not as aggressive as first thought which helped Sri Lanka bat out the Test for a draw. Strauss’ decision to declare when he did was seen to be too conservative against a side who were without injured captain Tillakaratne Dilshan in the second innings.

This Test is significant for England, not just because it’s the first five-day game held at Hampshire’s home ground, but certain players need to show signs of form heading into the biggest series of the summer against India.

That starts with the captain and opening batsmen Strauss, who has struggled for runs in this series so far. Much has been said about Kevin Pietersen’s flaws against left-arm spin but Strauss, who has looked a little off the pace at the top of the order, is also having trouble with left-arm seamers which was also apparent during the tour of Australia.

Strauss’ form needs to show an upturn soon as fellow opener Alastair Cook continues to pile on the runs and re-write the record books. To say his place in the England side was up for debate heading into the Ashes, his transformation is astounding. His minor criticism is the way he scores runs and after been named England one-day captain, Cook will need to go up the gears and score at a faster rate if he is to succeed.

Jonathan Trott and Ian Bell have cemented their places within the side during the last 12 months and the Test at Lord’s was significant for Pietersen, who looked like he had returned to for with a textbook 72 in the second innings. If England are to become the best side in the world, they need KP to fire and score runs quickly.

Matt Prior, fresh from windowgate, needs a better game after his patience was tested thanks to some wayward bowling down the leg-side from the England bowlers and to add insult to injury, his run out in the second innings as he tried to move the score along.

The bowling attack is up for debate as Stuart Broad’s wicket-taking ability seems to have dried up. Finn looks to be the bowler sacrificed for the returning Anderson, but should he after taking wickets at Lord’s. Chris Tremlett and Graeme Swann will continue to make up the four-man attack.

Sri Lanka fought hard and were put under enormous pressure when batting out 58 overs following their 82 all out in the first Test – a result that looked so unlikely sports bets punters were offered odds of 100-1 on a win for either side at one point. The tourists will rely on Kumar Sangakarra, who is set to captain the side as Dilshan’s inclusion looks unlikely as he continues to nurse a broken thumb.