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James Anderson Happy to Play Defensive Role in Spinner Friendly Conditions in Sri Lanka

Cricketnext Staff |November 3, 2018, 6:32 PM IST
James Anderson Happy to Play Defensive Role in Spinner Friendly Conditions in Sri Lanka

England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker James Anderson said he is happy to take the back seat during the three-match Test series in Sri Lanka where the conditions will be more favourable to the spinners.

"The pitches, first and foremost, aren't that seamer-friendly so it can be tough and the heat does take it out of you," Anderson told Sky Sports. "Seamers do have a role to play but it's not going to be like in England when you bowl 25 overs in a day - it's going to be 12 to 15.

"It's just about getting used to that and when you get your chance as a seamer you make the most of it. You know it's only going to be a short spell. (The seamers') job might be to be a little bit more defensive and let the spinners attack more from the other end. But there will be chances for seamers to take wickets.

"The new ball still swings, there is reverse [swing] as well if the conditions are suitable - if the pitch and outfield is dry. There are chances to get the ball moving in the air and that is almost what you have got to pray for as a seamer. If those things aren't happening, it can be very difficult."

The 36-year-old scalped nine wickets at 21.77 when England drew their previous Test series in Sri Lanka in 2012.

England haven't won an away Test series since early 2016 when they defeated South Africa 2-1. They managed to draw the series in Bangladesh but got smashed in India and Australia, and lost 0-1 in New Zealand. Anderson, who was part of the England side who triumphed 2-1 in India in 2012, said his team will have to hunt in pack if they want to win in Sri Lanka.

"Looking back on successful England teams in the past when we have been to the subcontinent, it's getting big first-innings totals and batsmen getting big hundreds that is really important," said Anderson.

"Then it's about 20 wickets so you need quality, not just your spinners but also from your seamers to find ways of getting wickets in alien conditions. We need to do a bit of everything. It's not just one thing we need to improve."

The right-arm seamer bowled 12 overs in the first warm-up match against Sri Lanka Board XI before sitting out on the second one.

"I know my body and I know I feel fit enough to cope with a Test match right now so I didn't feel like I needed that extra game," added Anderson. "The fact everyone has had a run out is a good thing and that will give the captain and coach a good idea of that they want."

The first of three Tests will get underway from November 6 in Galle.

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