England great James Anderson is taking inspiration from Tom Brady and Ryan Giggs as he targets playing top-level cricket into his forties.

Anderson, 38, reached the latest landmark of a phenomenal career this week when he took his 600th Test wicket in England's draw against Pakistan at Southampton.

No fast bowler has taken more in the longest format and Anderson, who first turned out for England in Tests 17 years ago, feels he has plenty more miles left on the clock.

Manchester United great Giggs and six-time Super Bowl-winning quarterback Brady are useful touchstones, especially with the 2021-22 Ashes in Australia on the horizon.

"I'm a member of the same golf club as Ryan but I've never met him, or spoken to him," Anderson told The Times. "But I've looked into it, because I just want to see whether you should be doing anything different approaching your forties, but I don't think there is. Some people are just lucky with their metabolism.

"You see Tom Brady and you wouldn't think that he's 42 to see him play. I think there is a bit of stigma around age in sport, but I don't see any reason why I can't play into my forties.

"I don't set targets but I've spoken to Joe [Root, England captain] and he's keen for me to go to Australia. I never like to look too far ahead, and we don't know when we'll be playing next, but I'll be preparing as I always do.

"I want to keep playing. If I feel like I do now, I don't see why I can't play into my forties, go to Australia and beyond.

"Everyone has got their opinions about retirement, but I feel I'm improving as a bowler and I don't feel like I'm levelling off yet. As long as I keep doing that, why would I stop?"

At the other end of the age bracket in Root's Test side, batsman Ollie Pope is facing an extended period on the sidelines with a shoulder injury.

The 22-year-old dislocated his left shoulder while fielding against Pakistan at the Rose Bowl and an MRI scan confirmed he would require surgery, necessitating a four-month recovery period.

Pope will then undergo a period of rehabilitation with England and Surrey's medical teams and target a return for his country's proposed tours of Sri Lanka and India in early 2021.

James Anderson claimed Pakistan's Azhar Ali as his 600th Test wicket on Tuesday – becoming the first fast bowler in history to reach the milestone.

The latest landmark moment of a phenomenal career illuminated a rain-ruined final day, with visiting skipper Azhar edging a lifting delivery to Joe Root at slip after the first two sessions of Tuesday were lost at Southampton.

England great Anderson, playing for the 156th time in the longest format, was at his brilliant in claiming a 29th five-wicket haul in Tests as Pakistan, already 1-0 down in the series, were bowled out for 273 and forced to follow-on at the end of day three.

It meant the 38-year-old emerged with the new ball in his hand on the fourth morning, although a dropped catch behind the stumps by Jos Buttler delayed his progress - as similar errors by Rory Burns, Zak Crawley and Stuart Broad had late on Sunday.

He trapped Abid Ali lbw for number 599 and, despite the best efforts of the elements, Anderson would not be denied his moment in the final Test of the English summer.

Anderson is fourth on Test cricket's all-time list, with India leg-spinner Anil Kumble next in his sights on 619 wickets, while all-time greats Shane Warne (708) and Muttiah Muralitharan (800) are somewhat further afield.

 

A five-for on debut against Zimbabwe in 2003 launched Anderson's red-ball international career and he went on to establish himself as the leader of the England attack under Andrew Strauss' captaincy, with the side memorably winning the 2010-11 Ashes away from home and ascending to number one in the world.

He became England's most prolific bowler in his 100th Test match against West Indies in 2015, dismissing Denesh Ramdin to reach 383 victims and overtake Ian Botham.

Anderson has since continued to go from strength to strength, usually in alliance with his long-time new ball partner Stuart Broad, who joined him in the 500 club earlier this season.

When Anderson removed India's Mohammed Shami at The Oval in 2018, he moved on to 564 wickets to usurp Glenn McGrath as the most prolific seamer ever.

Australia hero McGrath then laid down a challenge now accomplished.

"I have a lot of respect for Jimmy. He's been an incredible bowler for a long time," he told BBC Radio 5Live. "If he can raise the bar to 600 wickets, that's an incredible effort."

James Anderson was left tantalisingly on the brink of history with 599 Test wickets when bad light halted play after Pakistan frustrated England on a rain-affected fourth day of the final Test.

Anderson needed two wickets on the penultimate day to become the first fast bowler to take 600 scalps in the longest format, but could only dismiss Abid Ali for a patient 42.

Jos Buttler became the fourth player to drop a catch off Anderson's bowling in the final match of the series and Pakistan produced a strong rearguard action to close on 100-2 - trailing by 210 runs - as they battled to salvage a draw.

Stuart Broad (1-23) dismissed Shan Masood, who was given that early life by Buttler, but England could only strike twice in the 56 overs that were possible on a flat pitch at the Rose Bowl.

England will end a 10-year wait for a Test series win over Pakistan on the final day as they lead 1-0, but there are major doubts over whether there will be any play as Storm Francis is heading for Southampton.

With uncertainty over when England's next Test will be, Anderson could face a long wait for his next chance to become only the fourth player to join the 600 club.

Ollie Pope left the field early in the day and did not return after the tourists resumed at the start of their second innings with a deficit of 304.

Anderson (1-18) suffered more frustration when Buttler failed to grasp a chance offered by Masood on three and Pakistan's openers dug in with defiance before an early lunch was taken due to heavy rain at 41 without loss.

Abid and Masood (18) continued to dig in after play restarted following a lengthy spell off the field, but a stand of 49 ended when the left-hander fell lbw offering no shot to Broad.

Captain Azhar Ali, who made a magnificent unbeaten century on day three, and Abid saw out another 26 overs as England appeared to run out of ideas before Anderson moved a step closed to 600.

Abid was the man to depart, trapped in front to leave Pakistan 88-2 but Anderson was soon taken out of the attack in fading light and the players were taken off with the seamer reflecting on what might have been.

 

Frustrated Anderson within touching distance 

England's leading Test wicket-taker Anderson had the Monday blues after Buttler became the latest player to spurn a chance to help him reach the 600-mark.

Rory Burns, Zak Crawley and Broad spilled catches on day three and Anderson was left shaking his head after wicketkeeper Buttler missed a straightforward opportunity to see the back of Masood.

The four drops came in the space of 37 balls from Anderson, who will be hoping some calm after the storm gives him another chance to make history on the last day of England's final Test of the summer.

 

Resolute Pakistan show great fight

Pakistan started the penultimate day facing a real challenge to avoid a heavy defeat, but their batsmen showed impressive discipline in a match England have dominated.

Abid fell for only one in the first innings after making a half-century in the second Test, but soaked up 162 balls before he eventually fell to Anderson.

Masood and skipper Azhar, with a spring his step after a brilliant knock on Sunday, also showed commendable resilience on a day of Test cricket that will not live long in the memory but really should have done.

A defiant century from Pakistan captain Azhar Ali held up England but late breakthroughs ensured Joe Root's men were able to enforce the follow-on and close in on a series-clinching victory in the third Test.

Azhar remained unbeaten on 141 when the tourists were bowled out for 273, still 310 behind.

Bad light delayed Pakistan's second innings until the fourth morning.

Mohammad Rizwan added 138 for the sixth wicket alongside his skipper, using up almost 40 overs before being strangled down the leg side by Chris Woakes for 53, leaving Stuart Broad (2-40) to get amongst the tail and James Anderson (5-56) to take his 29th five-wicket haul in Tests.

Anderson, who is now just two away from the historic landmark of 600 Test wickets, had Asad Shafiq (5) caught at slip by Root during a rain-affected morning session, although an lbw appeal from Broad and a claim for caught behind from Jofra Archer – both against Azhar – saw England burn through their reviews in quick time.

Fawad Alam joined Azhar in helping to repel a ferocious Archer spell before falling for 21 when off-spinner Dom Bess extracted turn and bounce and Jos Buttler took the catch off the shoulder of the bat.

England's gloveman was similarly sharp when Rizwan perished in unfortunate fashion, while his acrobatic leap to his right to remove Shaheen Afridi arguably topped anything the first-innings centurion accomplished with the bat over the first two days.

That was Broad's second success with the second new ball, although Anderson's landmark bid was undermined when Rory Burns and Zak Crawley each shelled slip chances off his bowling in the 87th over.

The veteran's mood was hardly improved when Broad dropped a dolly at mid-on offered by Azhar before promptly throwing down the stumps and running out Mohammad Abbas for one.

Anderson's scowl had barely lifted when Dom Sibley held on in the cordon to dismiss Naseem Shah for a duck, putting the Pakistan top order back in his unerring sights.

Azhar breaks 6,000 barrier

Although the landmark on everyone's mind was Anderson closing in on his sextuple century of Test scalps, Pakistan captain Azhar moved beyond 6,000 runs in the longest format as he fought an almost lone hand against the seemingly inevitable.

After a 17th Test ton, the 35-year-old sits as Pakistan's fifth highest runs scorer of all time in the longest format.

Buttler back on song with bat and gloves

Following his game-changing knock as England won the opening Test and Old Trafford and a career-best 152 in the first innings here, Buttler took his renewed form behind the stumps.

The England wicketkeeper's glovework came in for criticism in Manchester but smoother footwork was on display and his catches to remove Fawad and Rizwan were both top class. The flying one-handed grab to account for Shaheen Afridi was absolutely sensational.

Zak Crawley struck a sublime double century and Jos Buttler made a classy career-best hundred before James Anderson put Pakistan on the ropes on a dream day two of the deciding Test for England.

Crawley reached three figures for the first time on the international stage on day one at the Rose Bowl and went on to craft a majestic 267 on Saturday.

The number three's stunning knock, which included 34 fours and a six, was the 10th-highest by an England batsman and the seventh-largest maiden century by a player from any country.

Buttler (152) also tormented the tourists with his second Test century, after successfully reviewing when he was given out on 99, in a magnificent fifth-wicket stand of 359 - a record for England - before Joe Root finally declared on a mammoth 583-8.

Anderson took 3-13 late in the day to leave Pakistan in deep trouble on 24-3, trailing by 559 and facing their first Test series loss to England for a decade.

Buttler was triggered caught behind one away from his century in a rain-affected morning session, but immediately signalled for the DRS and punched Mohammad Abbas for four in the same over to end a two-year wait for his second Test hundred.

Crawley drilled Naseem Shah to the ropes to move into the 190s after lunch and shifted through the gears after bringing up 200, taking the Pakistan attack to all parts.

The 22-year-old soon raised his bat again after making 250 with a disdainful four over square leg and looked untroubled before he was stumped down the leg side off Asad Shafiq.

Buttler had taken a back seat with Crawley in full flow but drove Naseem for a glorious 13th boundary of his brilliant innings to reach 150, then fell tamely caught and bowled by Fawad Alam.

Chris Woakes struck 40 before he became Fawad's second Test scalp, while Dom Bess was unbeaten on 27 and Stuart Broad struck a couple of sixes in his 15 before the declaration came.

Anderson added insult to injury by trapping Shan Masood lbw before Abid Ali edged to Dom Sibley at second slip. He also struck Babar Azam bang in front with the last ball of the day.
 

Crawley masterclass spells double trouble for Pakistan

After his heroics on day one, Crawley might have been forgiven for thinking it was job done but he returned to the crease on Saturday hungry to add to his overnight total of 171.

Rock solid in defence and so strong on the front and back foot, he played with panache to become the youngest England batsman to score a Test double hundred since David Gower 41 years ago.

Only Tip Foster, with 287, has made more runs in his maiden Test century for England, while Crawley is the third-youngest Englishman to score a double century and he did so in great style. 
 

Leading run-scorer Buttler serves up a treat

Buttler was upstaged by Crawley, but the wicketkeeper-batsman played with great control and skill to post his highest first-class score.

He was happy to keep ticking along while Crawley took centre stage, showing his maturity to deliver another emphatic message to his doubters after a crucial innings in the victory at Old Trafford.

His marathon stand with Crawley was the joint fourth-highest fifth-wicket partnership in Test history and all-but ended Pakistan's hopes of drawing the series. 
 

Devastating Anderson closes in on 600

Anderson has also had to contend with questions about his future during this series and once again let his class with the new ball do the talking.

A devastating late burst put the icing on the cake for England and left the seamer just four wickets away from 600 in Test cricket.

England were left frustrated by both Mohammad Rizwan and bad light on a truncated day two of the second Test against Pakistan.

Rizwan was on 60 not out when play was called off amid the gloom in Southampton, only 41.1 overs of play possible on a Friday that had also seen a delayed start due to rain.

Pakistan were on 223-9 at stumps thanks to some lower-order resistance, despite the best efforts of England seam duo James Anderson and Stuart Broad.

Anderson (3-48) dismissed Yasir Shah for five to take his Test tally to 593 wickets, while Broad claimed the key scalp of Babar Azam with a superb delivery that the right-hander edged through to wicketkeeper Jos Buttler when on 47.

But, having slipped from 78-1 to close a shortened opening day on 126-5, the tourists battled hard in bowler-friendly conditions, Rizwan leading the way with some help from the tail to keep England's opening batsmen waiting for their opportunity.

Early showers had already held back the home team's push for a series-clinching victory, while they failed to take a wicket in a shortened opening session once play finally got under way.

However, having appeared on course to record a Test half-century in a sixth successive first innings, Babar fell to Broad not long after the lunch interval.

Yasir's departure was followed by the careless run out of Shaheen Afridi, who was beaten by Dom Sibley's direct hit when considering a single that was never on, leaving the score at 176-8.

Yet Rizwan added 29 with Mohammad Abbas and while the latter was trapped lbw by Broad (3-56), the wicketkeeper-batsman was still fighting when the overhead conditions forced the players off not long after tea, with no further resumption possible.

Rizwan shows fighting spirit

Aided by a considerable amount of luck, Rizwan posted his second half-century in Test cricket. He played and missed plenty as the ball continued to swing throughout, yet also played some gloriously aggressive shots at times to carry his team's total past 200.

Light work needs to be longer?

It does Test cricket few favours when players are seen trooping off despite no real obvious change in conditions. There is undoubtedly a stage when bad light becomes dangerous to all involved, but it also must be remembered that this a spectacle for viewers, even if there is not a paying crowd inside the Rose Bowl.

England had the better of a weather-affected first day of the second Test against Pakistan as the tourists were limited to 126-5 at the Rose Bowl.

In stormy conditions in humid Hampshire, Pakistan won the toss and elected to bat, but James Anderson (2-35) struck early to dismiss Shan Masood for only one.

Dom Sibley and Rory Burns dropped catches as Abid Ali (60) and Azhar Ali (20) took Pakistan to 78-1, though the captain then fell to Anderson - who this week denied talk that he could be set to retire.

England did further damage in between rain breaks – Sam Curran, Stuart Broad and Chris Woakes striking before play was finally ended by bad light with only 45.4 overs possible.

It was advantage England at the close on a day which saw Zak Crawley replacing Ben Stokes after the vice-captain flew to New Zealand to be with his family and Curran coming in for Jofra Archer

Questions were asked over Anderson's place in the side following a disappointing showing in England's stunning victory at Old Trafford, but England's record Test wicket-taker soon let his class do the talking, swinging a brilliant delivery straight into Masood's pads.

Abid should have been dismissed in the next over, only for Sibley to put him down after Broad drew an edge.

Azhar's luck was in when the ball trickled back and hit the stumps without dislodging the bails, before Burns dropped Abid at second slip as Pakistan made it to an early, rain-enforced lunch without suffering further damage.

Pakistan's luck ran out shortly after the restart – the probing Anderson drawing an edge from Azhar, with Burns holding on this time.

Another rain break followed, with dark skies forcing tea to be taken early, but Pakistan resumed brightly – Abid passing 50 in nervy fashion with a thin edge which scuttled between fielders.

Successive fours took Pakistan beyond 100, yet Abid was soon on his way back to the pavilion when he nicked a delivery from Curran to Burns.

Sibley then took a low catch to send Asad Shafiq (5) walking, before Fawad Alam – making his first Test appearance since 2009 – was trapped lbw by Woakes, with England successfully reviewing before the weather closed in to halt the day's play.

 

Evergeen Anderson responds to his doubters

It took Anderson, who came in for criticism after posting poor bowling figures of 1-97 in Manchester last week, just eight deliveries to dismiss Masood, with the 38-year-old striking Pakistan's opener bang in front.

His second wicket was another fantastic delivery, drawing Azhar into a flick outside of his off stump, as the seamer moved just eight shy of 600 Test wickets.

Azhar's troubles in England continue

Pakistan's captain scored 0 and 18 in his two innings in the first Test, and despite facing 85 deliveries on Thursday, only managed 20 runs before he succumbed to Anderson.

Azhar came in for criticism after England's stunning turnaround in the first match of the series and really needs to start contributing with the bat to ease the pressure on him.

James Anderson is set to keep his place in the England team despite a disappointing performance in the first Test against Pakistan last week.

England head to Southampton with a 1-0 lead in the three-match series despite frustration for Anderson at Old Trafford.

The 38-year-old seamer - closing in on 600 Test wickets - returned underwhelming match figures of 1-97 and subsequently fielded questions on whether he was set to retire.

Anderson insisted that was not an option, though, and he has the support of captain Joe Root, who intends to keep faith with England's record Test wicket-taker.

"Jimmy's likely to play," Root told reporters on Wednesday ahead of the second Test, which starts on Thursday. "I can't tell you who else is likely to play.

"The only other player I can guarantee if he's fit and well and doesn't get food poisoning tonight is probably me."

Pressed on Anderson getting an immediate opportunity to bounce back, Root replied: "Wouldn't you give him the opportunity with nearly 600 wickets under his belt?"

The captain, who welcomed "very exciting" Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson to the squad, revealed he had a private conversation with Anderson during the Old Trafford Test.

Having told the veteran to "remember how good a player you are", Root offered a firm defence of his most senior star.

"I think to question Jimmy's ability and his record... do that at your own peril," the skipper said.

"There's a reason he's got so many wickets over such a long period of time. It's because he's a consistent performer. I don't think it'll be long before he's back in the wickets big time.

"It would be very silly for us to write someone like Jimmy off. He's still as dedicated as ever, working very hard at his game, and looking very good in practice.

"I don't think it'll be long before he's got another five-fer next to his name."

He added: "It just shows that even the greats of the game and the greats of English cricket still have those days where it doesn't always come as naturally to you, it doesn't always feel the easiest game in the world.

"You know it can be a struggle sometimes. That's just the way it goes.

"I think with Jimmy, you know it won't be long before he's right back at the top, at the peak of his powers, and I'm very much looking forward to seeing him perform again this week."

Anderson's long-time colleague Stuart Broad had a more prominent role in proceedings with figures of 6-91 in Manchester, yet his send-off of Yasir Shah saw him fined by the match referee, his father Chris.

Root said: "It was disappointing for that to happen. It just shows the frustrations that Test cricket can throw at you sometimes.

"You know how much it means to Stuart, and over the past couple of weeks he's made it clear how much it means for him to play for England and do well. That probably just slightly boiled over.

"I'm sure that was a frosty conversation with his dad at some point last week. But he'll look to move on. He knows he's got to set an example and I can't see that being a major talking point dragging over into this week.

"Ultimately, we want to make sure none of our players are missing games through avoidable incidents like that."

James Anderson was frustrated with his performance in England's series opener with Pakistan but has no plans to retire from Test cricket just yet. 

England claimed an impressive three-wicket win at Old Trafford, chasing down a target of 277 after their bowlers had helped bring them back into the contest late on day three. 

However, Anderson struggled at his home ground, at times cutting an exasperated figure as he returned match figures of 1-97. 

The seamer admits he struggled for rhythm but, at 38, is focused on rediscovering his best form as he closes in on the milestone of 600 Test wickets. 

Asked on a media conference call on Monday whether he was contemplating retirement amid speculation over his future, Anderson emphatically replied: "Absolutely not. 

"It's been a frustrating week for me personally because I've not bowled very well, I've felt out of rhythm. 

"Probably for the first time in 10 years I got a little bit emotional on the field, started getting frustrated and let that get to me a little bit. 

"It reminded me of when I first started playing, when you get frustrated and a little bit angry then you start trying to bowl quicker and quicker, and that obviously doesn't help on the field. 

"For me, once we get down to Southampton, it is a case of working really hard over the next couple of days, see if there are any technical issues that I can sort out and just try and work hard and hope that I get the nod for the next game, so I can try and show people that I've still got what it takes to play Test cricket." 

 

While once again pointing out his determination to keep on playing, Anderson acknowledged his future could be taken out of his hands by the selectors. 

England are back in action this week, with the second Test against Pakistan beginning on Thursday at the Rose Bowl, and have called up Sussex seamer Ollie Robinson to the squad. 

"I want to keep playing for as long as I possibly can," Anderson said. "If I keep bowling the way I did this week, the opportunity to retire will be taken out of my hands. 

"I'm still hungry to play the game, I think the frustration for me this week is that after just one bad game, whispers go around, and I don't think that is really fair. 

"Something that I have done well throughout my career is deal with the pressure that comes with playing, whether that is pressure of expectation, pressure of the match situation - I feel I've dealt with that pretty well throughout my career. 

"This week I probably didn't do that very well. That is something I need to look at and go away, personally look at that and whether I play in the next game or the game after that or if it is in the winter then whenever I play next, I'm ready to be able to cope with that." 

England's one-day captain Eoin Morgan believes James Anderson and Stuart Broad are "the greatest that's ever been" after the latter followed his fellow bowler in reaching 500 Test wickets. 

Broad was dropped by England for the first match in the three-Test series against West Indies but was the star of the show as Joe Root's side regained the Wisden Trophy with two successive wins at Old Trafford. 

The 34-year-old took his 500th Test wicket on the final day of the third Test on Tuesday, helping the hosts secure victory by 269 runs. 

He became the seventh player to reach the landmark when he dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite – Anderson having taken the wicket of the same batsman when he reached the landmark back in 2017. 

Asked for his thoughts on Broad's achievement, ODI captain Morgan was full of praise for his former team-mate.

"It's incredible," Morgan told a news conference ahead of England's ODI series against Ireland, which begins on Thursday.

"We [the one-day squad] watched most of it. We sort of sat back and discussed where he started, how he progressed, different guys with which he's played. 

"In many ways, Broady and Jimmy [Anderson] are always paired together, but when you speak about them on their own, they're the greatest that's ever been. 

"That doesn't hold a lot of weight at the moment, but I’m sure it will do when they finish playing, which is sad but I'm sure that's the way everybody operates. 

"I'm very lucky to have played Test cricket with him [Broad]. I played in a game where he took a hat-trick at Trent Bridge and it was unbelievable. 

"To show the longevity, the skill and not only that, he's box office. He takes wickets in clusters, he's a nightmare to play against." 

Broad and Anderson are no longer involved with England's limited-overs teams, with Morgan believing their focus being directed solely towards Test cricket has helped the duo in the long run. 

"I think you'd have to speak to them. They know their bodies, know how they feel," he said. 

"I know for me, it's prolonged how I see my career going, having cut red-ball [cricket] out of it. It makes it less clustered, you spend more time with your family and cricket isn't as overwhelming as it potentially could be towards the end of your career. 

"I think both of them have spoken about the Ashes. Everybody who plays English Test cricket is judged on Ashes performances, and it wouldn't surprise me if those guys want to go past that." 

Stuart Broad dismissed Kraigg Brathwaite on the final day of the third Test against West Indies to reach the milestone of 500 Test wickets. 

The seamer trapped opener Brathwaite lbw for 19 in the morning session to aid England's push for victory at Old Trafford, the hosts having been frustrated by bad weather on Monday as play was washed out.

Broad is the seventh bowler to make it to the notable landmark, doing so in his 140th appearance in the longest format of the game. 

The 34-year-old was surprisingly left out by the hosts for the opener in Southampton – a game West Indies won by four wickets – but marked his recall with match figures of 6-108 in the second Test in Manchester. 

He continued his impressive form with a six-wicket haul in the first innings of the series finale, putting his side in complete control having also contributed 62 with the bat.  

Only long-time new-ball partner James Anderson – who also dismissed Brathwaite to reach 500 in 2017 – has managed more wickets for England, while Broad has West Indies legend Courtney Walsh (519) in his sights. 

Glenn McGrath is the leading fast bowler with 563 wickets, but the top three on the prestigious list are all spinners. Anil Kumble managed 619, Shane Warne sits second with 708 and Muttiah Muralitharan is top of the pile by a distance, the Sri Lankan ending his career on exactly 800.

Stuart Broad stepped into the all-rounder role as England took control of the third Test against West Indies.

Joe Root recalled Jofra Archer and James Anderson to an England team a batsman light due to Ben Stokes' injury concerns.

England face West Indies in the third and final Test at Old Trafford on Friday needing to win to regain the Wisden Trophy.

As for the second match, Root has altered his attack, although Mark Wood again misses out.

Archer - unable to play last time out after breaching biosecurity protocols - and Anderson are back, meaning Sam Curran makes way.

But with Stokes managing an injury, number three Zak Crawley has also dropped out to get the extra bowler in, seeing the rest of the order shift up.

That batting order was swiftly tested after Windies captain Jason Holder won the toss and, as in the previous match, opted to bowl first.

"We've balanced the side out as best we can and I actually feel like we've got a very good, well balanced team. I'm not worried about that at all," Root said, before quickly finding himself in the middle when Kemar Roach dismissed Dom Sibley lbw for a duck in the first over.

Of Archer's return, the captain added: "Jofra's ready to play. Over the last couple of days, he's got his smile back and bowled with real pace in the nets.

"He knows he's got the full support of the dressing room and the guys around him. We're really looking forward to him getting back out there and showing everyone how talented he is."

On the possibilty of Stokes bowling, Root said: "We'll have to see how things go. We can monitor that as the game progresses. But we have to make sure we look after him as best as possible."

Stokes - now the ICC's top-ranked all-rounder - revealed he had "been better" and was still unsure of the nature of the injury.

He said: "It's going to be a day by day thing. I was a little bit worried I wouldn't be able to offer everything I could with the ball, especially in the first innings."

The Windies have also made a change, meanwhile, bringing in spinner Rahkeem Cornwall for Alzarri Joseph in a match they need only to draw to retain the trophy.

Rain is forecast on four days in Manchester.

James Anderson believes both he and Stuart Broad deserve a place in England's strongest Test bowling attack.

Anderson was rested for England's victory over West Indies in the second Test at Old Trafford after Broad was omitted for the opening match of the series in Southampton.

Jofra Archer is available to return for the decider after missing out in Manchester following his breach of bio-secure protocols last week, while Chris Woakes, Sam Curran and Mark Wood will also be hoping to get the nod.

Anderson, 37, thinks England's two leading wicket-takers in Test cricket still merit a place in their best line-up. 

Asked if the days of he and Broad sharing the new ball are over, he said: "I really hope not. I think our record together speaks for itself.

"I really like to think that if we're both fit and England are picking their best bowling attack, we'd both be in that. Obviously, there will be moments in the future when we're not bowling together.

"It's happened already in this series and over the last two years, naturally through injury or resting.

"It's going to be different moving forward – I don't think we will play every game together, but I'd like to think that we've got plenty more games together in the future."

He added: "You always want to be in that best team. That's all I've ever tried to do, and it's the same with Stuart.

"We've only ever worked hard to be at the forefront of the captain and coach's mind when they're picking the side – we want to be the first two names on the team sheet.

"But all we can do is keep working hard, keep taking wickets – as Stuart did this week, he bowled brilliantly, especially after the disappointment of not playing in Southampton – so all we can do is keeping working hard and hopefully we get picked."

The third and final Test of the series against the Windies starts at Old Trafford on Friday.

Ben Stokes is becoming England's greatest all-rounder but must be looked after so he can reach his peak, according to James Anderson.

Stokes was influential as England squared the Test series with West Indies, scoring 254 runs with the bat while also taking two crucial wickets on a dramatic final day in Manchester.

It was his dismissal of Jermaine Blackwood just prior to the tea break that opened the door for Joe Root's side to push for victory, setting up a winner-takes-all showdown at the same venue this week.

The updated International Cricket Council player rankings have Stokes listed as the leading all-rounder in the world in the longest format, while seamer Anderson believes the 29-year-old is on course to surpass the achievements of the great Ian Botham.

England's all-time leading wicket-taker admits it is "amazing" to be in the same team as an individual who can make such a massive impact in all three facets of the game.

"It's hard to say how good he is, because it's hard to find the words. I saw Joe Root say the other day that we're in the presence of greatness and he's spot-on," Anderson said of Stokes.

"The fact that he could get into any team as a batsman, without his bowling and fielding, speaks volumes. His bowling is getting better and better each time he goes out there; he could get into a lot of bowling attacks as well.

"It's just amazing to have that talent in our team, and also to be able to watch it first-hand.

"After a week where he's pretty much done everything – chasing balls off his own bowling, batting most of the two innings that we had and getting wickets as well – it can take a toll. We've got to make sure we look after him as well, so we can keep getting the best out of him for as long as possible.

"He's certainly the best all-rounder I've ever played with - and I think he's becoming the best all-rounder that England have ever had.

"There's no reason why he cannot go on and be even better, too. With the bat, averaging in the 40s, with the ball in the 30s and then taking spectacular catches.

"It's incredible that we've got him on our team."

While Stokes starred in the second Test, Anderson was not involved. The 37-year-old was rested after featuring in the series opener in Southampton, where West Indies triumphed by four wickets.

Stuart Broad, Sam Curran and Chris Woakes were the three seamers selected at Old Trafford last week, though with Jofra Archer and Mark Wood also available, Anderson acknowledged there is a serious fight to feature in England's best XI, which he expects to take the field in the decider.

"It's healthy competition but there are going to be some disappointed guys this week, three spot up for grabs and there's six or seven guys who could fill those spaces," he said.

"It's a good position to be in, because it shows we've got strength in depth.

"But I'm sure now we're in a position where, having rested guys and those that played this week, we can now pick our best thee going into this game wanting to win it."

Archer was excluded for the previous match due to breaching bio-secure protocols. However, he has served a period of self-isolation and returned two negative coronavirus tests, clearing him for action.

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