Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Broad Wins Backing to Play the Lead Role in Durban Test

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Broad Wins Backing to Play the Lead Role in Durban Test

Article excerpt

Byline: Rory Dollard in Durban

TREVOR Bayliss has backed Stuart Broad to lead the England attack in style should James Anderson fail to make the Boxing Day Test against South Africa.

Anderson, 33, remains a major doubt for the series opener at Kingsmead after suffering tightness in his right calf for more than a week.

England are awaiting the results of a scan taken on Tuesday and have two more training sessions - today and tomorrow - to assess Anderson's match fitness, with contingencies already in place.

Chris Woakes is favourite to replace Anderson, having nudged ahead of Mark Footitt and Chris Jordan, with Broad ready to inherit Anderson's seniority in the field.

The last time Broad was bumped up the pecking order because of an Anderson injury, at Trent Bridge in August, he took career-best figures of eight for 15 to humiliate Australia and secure the Ashes.

As omens go, it is a reassuring one.

Bayliss said: "From Stuart's point of view we have obvious replacement as leader of the attack there and I'm sure he would show he could handle that as he did against Australia in the fourth Test.

"It's always a concern if your leading bowler or leading batter misses a game but the last time Jimmy missed one we did pretty well so you never know.

"We have a good squad of bowlers on this tour and if it gets to that we have plenty of cover."

England's concern over Anderson, who has sent down just five competitive overs on the trip, mirrors South Africa's over Dale Steyn. The latter has been passed fit after a groin injury whichplagued him in India and Bayliss hopes to see both sides' premier pacemen on show.

Steyn and Anderson are the only active seam bowlers to have passed 400 Test wickets and this winter could be the last chance to see the pair face off. Bayliss added: "You want the best players to be playing in all the teams.

"Unfortunately it's the nature of the sport you do get niggles every now and then and have to miss games, but they're two very fine bowlers. …

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