In the fourth Ashes Test, James Anderson returned to his home ground of Old Trafford to lead an aging England attack in any event. It’s the only change for Ben Stokes’ side, which is down 2-1 with two games.
As the hosts won the third Test at Headingley by three wickets, England dropped Ollie Robinson, who suffered back spasms. Anderson has been reinstated for the match as of Wednesday, just a fortnight before his 41st birthday.
What do we know so far?
Although Anderson’s 688 wickets are the most by any fast bowler in Test history, Only spinners Muttiah Muralitharan and Shane Warne are ahead of the Lancashire bowlers. Anderson could only take three wickets as England fell 2-0 in the series. However, in an Ashes match since the 1928 Australian line-up, he is poised to become the cornerstone of the oldest pace attack.
It was the last time a team fielded four closers aged 33 and over, with Anderson in England’s seam bowling quartet alongside Stuart Broad (37), Chris Woakes (34), and the speedy Mark Wood (33). Seasoned activists from England also include the multi-talented Moeen Ali. Moeen had retired from Test cricket a few weeks ago but was withdrawn due to an injury to frontline player Jack Leach.
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Therefore, Australia will have to decide whether both can play in the team. After his partner Josh Hazlewood is ready to return, fast bowler Scott Boland loses just once and goes wicketless at Headingley England has won 13 of their last 16 Test matches at Old Trafford.
Moreover, that loss was against Australia four years ago. They haven’t enjoyed an Ashes victory in Manchester since Ian Botham’s brilliant century in 1981. The 2019 series is a warning to England. A defeat at Old Trafford followed the excitement of victory at Headingley as Hazlewood took six wickets in the match.
“I’m very excited, I have good memories from the last time I was here in 2019, so it feels good to be back,” Hazlewood said. Obviously, he also added that he got knocked out in the last game, but he feels better about it. This was the right decision. Now he can sit back and see the big picture. He was desperate to play, but now it makes sense. Hopefully, after that short break, I’ll be shooting again.