England in South Africa: Joe Root will trust bowlers to decide on fitness

England bowler James Anderson in action during the third day of the warm-up match against South Africa A
James Anderson missed almost the whole of the summer Ashes series against Australia with a calf injury
Tour match, Willowmoore Park, Benoni (day three of three):
England 456-7 dec: Pope 132, Denly 103, Burns 56
South Africa A 325-5: Petersen 111, Verrynne 74, Second 55; Anderson 3-41
Match drawn

England will trust Jofra Archer, Stuart Broad and Jack Leach to decide if they are fit to play the first Test against South Africa after all three missed the warm-up games because of illness.

The trio took part in a net session in Benoni on Sunday but played no part in the match as England drew their final warm-up against South Africa A.

James Anderson took two wickets before a draw was agreed, with the hosts 325-5 in reply to England's 456-7 declared.

The first Test begins on Thursday.

"It's a tricky one - they will do everything they can to be ready and that's all you can ask," said England captain Joe Root.

"You want to make sure they can really let themselves go and get through 20 overs in a day, 25 if they absolutely had to.

"A big part of it is that you don't want to let the rest of the guys down - you don't want to say you're fit to play if you're not, then pull up and put the workload on the rest of the team.

"It's a fine balance, with a bit of trust either way in making sure the right decision is made."

Pace bowlers Broad and Archer and left-arm spinner Leach also missed the first warm-up against a Cricket South Africa Invitation XI after suffering from flu-like symptoms, so have not bowled in a game at all on tour.

The South Africa A match was downgraded from first-class status to allow England to field more than 11 players because of illness in the camp, while Somerset bowlers Craig Overton and Dom Bess have been called up to provide cover.

The hosts resumed day three on 154-2 and, despite a tough day for the tourists' bowlers, seamer Anderson - who is returning from a calf injury - dismissed Rudi Second (55) and Kyle Verreynne (74) to finish with 3-41.

England's all-time leading Test wicket-taker Anderson, who aggravated a calf injury on the first day of the first Ashes Test against Australia in August, got through 19 overs, including seven maidens.

Keegan Petersen scored a fine 111 for the hosts before he was removed by Sam Curran, at which point the captains decided to shake hands on a draw with three hours until the close.

"You can see the benefit of Anderson's time off," said Root.

"He's worked really hard physically and looks in great shape, probably as strong as we've seen him, and it showed in his performance."

England will face South Africa in four Tests, with the first at Centurion.


Join the conversation

These comments are now closed.


Top Stories

Elsewhere on the BBC

Cricket on the BBC