James Anderson will stand aside for his long-time partner Stuart Broad as England look to seal a rare series whitewash this week, admitting he has felt “like a spare part” on the spinning pitches of Sri Lanka.
The nation’s leading wicket-taker has been told to put his feet up in Colombo, rested for the first time since 2012, with Broad taking the role of senior seamer after being overlooked during England’s victories in Galle and Kandy.
Anderson rejected the chance to sit out the entire tour, but his enthusiasm has been tested by the surfaces on offer in Sri Lanka.
The 36-year-old has sent down a total of 41 overs in four innings with his solitary dismissal coming when he found Dimuth Karunaratne’s edge with his second ball of the trip.
For a man so used to leading from the front, it has been challenging experience and one he is not entirely upset about passing on to the man he has played 111 Tests with.
“Joe Root told me this morning. I had a feeling it might be the case; there might be a few changes. You don’t want to miss a Test – I never like it – but I understand the reasoning behind it,” Anderson said.
“Broady’s going to play instead of me. The thinking is that with the series sewn up it’s an opportunity to rotate.
“We’re going to the West Indies (in the new year) and with a view to that, I think the feeling is they want Broady to get some Test cricket under his belt. So it’s going to be a week off (for me).
“It’s been a frustrating trip for me really because you want to contribute to the wins and I feel like I’ve tried my best, but it’s not really been a series for the seamers.
“I feel like a bit of a spare part, but I think that’s just the nature of playing cricket here.
“The wickets that we’ve had have obviously been very suitable for the spin bowlers so it’s frustrating in a way for me not to have as much influence as I would have liked or have done in games elsewhere in the world, but that just the nature of playing out here.
“As frustrating as it’s been for me personally, it’s been brilliant to be a part of such a great series for the team.”