England recalled pacer Stuart Broad and wicketkeeper-batsman Jonny Bairstow for the third and final Test against Sri Lanka, starting on Friday at Colombo. Broad will replace world’s leading wicket-taking fast bowler James Anderson, who has managed to claim just one wicket in two matches that England won comprehensively to take 2-0 unassailable lead. Meanwhile, Bairstow has come in place of injured Sam Curran. Following his ouster, Anderson expressed frustration over a poor run but seemed happy for fellow paceman Broad.
“Yes I’m not playing this game, Broady’s going. The thinking is that with the series sewn up it’s an opportunity to rotat,” Anderson said on Wednesday.
“I think the feeling is they want Broady to get some Test cricket under his belt,” the 36-year-old added.
England go into the third and final Test in Colombo with a 2-0 lead and gunning for a whitewash.
“So it’s going to be a week off. It’s been a frustrating trip for me really because you want to contribute to the wins.
“But I feel like I’ve tried my best but it’s not really been a series for the seamers,” he added.
“I feel like a bit of a spare part but I think that’s just the nature of playing cricket here.”
England sewed up the series, a first away series win since beating South Africa in 2015-16, on Sunday in Kandy.
And Anderson said he was happy to have been part of a squad that has played so well away from England.
The veteran of many highs and lows in England’s fortunes said the tour under captain Joe Root had been “a real big stepping stone for us as a team.”
“We’ve been good in parts over the past 18 months but a bit inconsistent. I think the improvements we’ve made and continue to make have really shown this trip.”
He highlighted the batting of stand-in wicketkeeper Ben Foakes, Rory Burns and Keaton Jennings as well as England’s spin trio Moeen Ali, Adil Rashid and Jack Leach.
“I certainly feel like in the past previous teams might not have played as positively as we have with the bat,” said Anderson.
“The message from Joe is to go out, be confident. We’ve played positively, tried to take the attacking option and I think that’s why we’re 2-0 up.”
(With AFP inputs)