England v Pakistan: James Anderson backed to return to form by Joe Root

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Anderson has taken 590 wickets in 154 Tests
Second Test: England v Pakistan
Venue: Ageas Bowl, Southampton Date: Thursday, 13 August
Coverage: Ball-by-ball Test Match Special commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live Sports Extra, BBC Radio 4 LW, BBC Sounds, and BBC Sport website & app with live text commentary & in-play highlights (UK only). Highlights each evening on BBC TV and iPlayer

England bowler James Anderson has been backed by captain Joe Root to return to “the peak of his powers”.

Anderson, England’s all-time leading wicket-taker, is set to keep his place for the second Test against Pakistan, which starts on Thursday.

The 38-year-old returned match figures of 1-97 in last week’s first Test and on Monday denied speculation he could retire, calling the suggestion unfair.

Root said you question Anderson’s ability “at your own peril”.

“It would be very silly for us to write someone like Jimmy off,” said Root.

“He is still as dedicated as ever, is working very hard on his game and is looking very good in practice.”

Anderson has taken six wickets in three Tests this summer and needs 10 more to become the first fast bowler to take 600 in Tests.

Root said he and Anderson had “honest conversations” during the first Test at Old Trafford about the bowler’s frustrations.

“To get that off his chest and to talk about it has helped him,” Root said.

“With Jimmy we know it won’t be long until he is back at the peak of his powers.

“I am very much looking forward to seeing him perform this week.”

Victory at the Ageas Bowl in Southampton will secure England a first series win over Pakistan in 10 years.

The hosts have made one change to their squad with uncapped Sussex bowler Ollie Robinson, 26, replacing all-rounder Ben Stokes, who will miss the match and the series finale after flying to New Zealand for family reasons.

Batsman Zak Crawley will likely replace Stokes in the batting order, but Root said he would not confirm his starting XI until the toss.

Robinson, Stuart Broad, Chris Woakes, Jofra Archer, Sam Curran and Mark Wood, plus spinner Dom Bess, are all in contention to join Anderson in the bowling attack.

Root said Stokes’ absence is a “huge loss” but challenged other members of the team to step up.

“For a long period of time he has been arguably our best player,” Root said.

“He offers so much in all departments. He is a big leader in the group as vice-captain as well.

“Of course we will miss him dearly, we are all thinking about him, but it is an opportunity for someone to come in and try and full those boots.

“Whoever gets that responsibility has to try and really step up to the plate.”

England won the first Test at Emirates Old Trafford despite conceding a 107-run first-innings lead and being on the back foot for much of the game.

Pakistan assistant coach Waqar Younis said the defeat was a “tough pill to swallow” but hopes the tourists can “cash in” on Stokes’ absence.

“If he’s not around it’s unfortunate for cricket but there is no doubt he is a match-winner,” Younis said.

“England will probably be a touch light in their middle order, so we’re going to talk about that and try to cash in.”

Hafeez isolating after photo with golfer

Hafeez posted the picture on Twitter on Wednesday morning

Pakistan all-rounder Mohammad Hafeez has been put into isolation in the team hotel after he broke the bio-secure protocols.

Hafeez, who is not in the Test squad but is with the team preparing for the Twenty20 series that follows the Tests, posted a picture on social media of himself with a member of the public on the golf course at the Ageas Bowl.

Players are allowed to play or walk around the golf course as it is within the bio-secure bubble, but Hafeez breached the two-metre social-distancing protocol. The Pakistan Cricket Board said it was an “inadvertent mistake”.

Hafeez had a coronavirus test on Wednesday and will isolate until he returns a negative result.

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