England’s leading all-time wicket-taker James Anderson is set to return to their attack for the second test against South Africa starting on Saturday after recovering from a calf injury.
Anderson, 33, was hardly missed in Durban as England bowled out South Africa for 214 and 174 en route to a 241-run victory but is set to return in place of Chris Woakes for the Cape Town test.
Anderson has gone through a lengthy session in the nets with no adverse results and coach Trevor Bayliss said “the signs look good.”
“He’s been working hard but we have to wait and see how he pulls up,” Bayliss told reporters.
“My thought is you’d probably go with him, so fingers crossed he comes to us and says his body’s feeling good.
“He’ll know his body and what he’s capable of.”
Captain Alastair Cook said Anderson was “desperate” to play but England had to carefully consider changing a winning team.
“It’s fair to say the 11 who played in Durban did a pretty good job but when you’ve got someone like him and his wickets, then if he is fit to go he’ll play,” Cook told a news conference on Friday.
“It’s an interesting call because the number of overs he’s bowled on this tour so far are not a huge amount and the heat out there means the test conditions will be tough for all of us.”
Anderson played only in England’s first warm-up match in Potchefstroom in mid-December against an Invitation XI and bowled just five overs.
Cook said 2015 had been an “up-and-down year” for England and he wanted consistency to be the key word this year.
“It was great to finish with a performance like that in a match that was relentless from ball one. But can we do that again? Can we have an Edgbaston-Trent Bridge fortnight again in Durban and Cape Town?” he asked, evoking memories of England’s dramatic wins in the third and fourth test of the Ashes in July and August that secured the series against Australia.
“We have to be careful not to get carried away. It took a lot out of us to win in Durban, we had to get out of some tight situations but we managed to drag it back through absolute determination. It’s just whether we have the same hunger is us to do it again.”